Rome Odunze drafted No. 9 as UW Huskies go back-to-back

Apr 25, 2024, 6:13 PM | Updated: Apr 26, 2024, 4:03 pm

UW Huskies Rome Odunze Oregon Oct. 2023...

Rome Odunze of the UW Huskies celebrates a catch against Oregon in October 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

UW Huskies wide receiver Rome Odunze was selected by the Chicago Bears with the No. 9 overall pick in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday night.

WA NFL Draft Tracker: UW Huskies, WSU and local picks

Odunze was taken just minutes after the Atlanta Falcons drafted UW Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. at No. 8, giving Washington multiple top-10 picks in the same draft for the second time in program history. The only other instance came in 1941, when Rudy Mucha and Dean McAdams both went in the top 10.

A third selection for the Dawgs came at No. 20 when the Pittsburgh Steelers took offensive lineman Troy Fautanu. That gave UW three first-rounders in the same draft for the second time ever.

The 6-foot-3, 212-pound Odunze matched Reggie Williams and John Ross as the highest-drafted wide receivers in UW history. Williams was the No. 9 pick in 2004 and John Ross went No. 9 in 2017.

Odunze was the third wideout taken from one of the most-hyped receiving trios the draft has ever seen. Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. was picked by the Arizona Cardinals at No. 4 and LSU WR Malik Nabers went to the New York Giants at No. 6.

In Chicago, Odunze joins a new-look offense that’s teeming with potential. The Bears drafted USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick and they now have a fearsome receiving trio with Odunze, DJ Moore and six-time Pro Bowler Keenan Allen, who they acquired in a trade last month. Chicago is coming off three consecutive losing seasons, including a 7-10 campaign last year.

Odunze led the nation in receiving yardage this past season, totaling 92 catches for a school-record 1,640 yards and 13 touchdowns while playing a massive role in UW’s run to the College Football Playoff national championship game. The 21-year-old Las Vegas native topped the 100-yard receiving mark in 10 of 15 games and also had a rushing TD and a punt return TD.

Odunze, a first-team Associated Press All-American, was Penix’s top target in the Huskies’ high-flying attack and came through in numerous big-time moments in 2023.

Seattle Seahawks NFL Draft Tracker: Keep up on every pick and trade

Odunze had the game-winning TD catch in the final minutes of a dramatic regular-season win over Oregon. He hauled in a key third-down pass to seal a narrow victory at Oregon State. In the Apple Cup, he had a big run on a fourth-and-1 reverse from deep in UW’s own territory to help set up the game-winning field goal against WSU. And in the CFP semifinal at the Sugar Bowl, he had six catches for 125 yards to help the Huskies beat Texas.

Odunze also had 1,145 receiving yards and seven TD catches in 2022. He was a third-team AP All-American that season and finished 10th in the nation in receiving yards.

Odunze showcased his elite ball skills at UW by consistently beating defenders for jump balls and tough receptions. According to Pro Football Focus, Odunze had 21 contested catches this past season, which was four more than any other receiver in the nation. His 75% contested catch was the highest among any receiver with at least 100 targets.

More on Rome Odunze and the NFL Draft

Details: Live NFL Draft coverage from Seattle Sports
Ranked: Brock’s top five UW Huskies in 2024 NFL Draft
Why rankings don’t matter for UW’s Odunze, other top WRs
Wyman highlights UW Huskies LB as Seahawks draft target
UW’s Rome Odunze: Seahawks ‘getting a dog’ in new OC Ryan Grubb

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Rome Odunze drafted No. 9 as UW Huskies go back-to-back