ESPN analysts dub Rome Odunze as best pick of 2024 NFL Draft
Kirby Lee - USA Today Sports

ESPN analysts dub Rome Odunze as best pick of 2024 NFL Draft

by - Correspondent -

The NFL Draft is always an unpredictable time. With all of the rumors regarding the Chicago Bears trading the No. 9 overall pick, they ultimately chose to stay there and draft wide receiver Rome Odunze to create potentially the most talented wide receiver trio out of any team in the NFL.

This pick has drawn considerable attention from analysts around the country, including multiple ESPN analysts who dubbed it the best selection of the draft.

“The wideout falling to No. 9 was not a complete surprise, given the anticipated run on quarterbacks early, but it was also not a sure thing. The sixth highest-rated player on my board could have been the first receiver taken in so many prior drafts, but the presence of Marvin Harrison Jr. and (Malik) Nabers (the third- and fourth-rated players on my board) made him the third of the board in this class,” ESPN’s Field Yates said. “But don’t be mistaken - Odunze will be an instant impact contributor as one of the most polished prospects in this class.”

In the 2024 NFL Draft, there was an incredibly deep wide receiver group, highlighted by the top three receivers, Harrison Jr. and Nabers from Ohio State and LSU, respectively.

Even with that, analysts such as Mike Tannenbaum from ESPN believe Odunze has the chance to be the top receiver in this class, influenced in part by the receivers Odunze has to learn from Pro Bowl veterans DJ Moore and Keenan Allen.

“[Odunze] has a legitimate chance to be the best receiver from this draft,” Tannenbaum said. “Under the motto of ‘win for today and develop for tomorrow,’ the Bears have Allen on a one-year deal, and Odunze has Terrell Owens’ type of ability. This is ideal for Chicago.”

This is currently ideal for the Bears as they are building for the future with this pick. Allen is going into his twelfth season, so the receiver duo built in Chicago will not last very long. With Odunze with the Bears now, he has time to learn from Allen before he is no longer with the Bears or finishes his career with Chicago.

With the Bears' defensive needs, especially for an edge rusher, it was a surprise that they did not use the No. 9 overall pick on a defensive talent. However, there was also a lot of depth at the edge rusher position, and Chicago traded back into the fifth round to acquire a defensive player. They have also picked up some undrafted free agents for their defense. With the talent they had, they were one of the best defenses in the league in the second half of the season.

So, building depth and adding rookie talent at wide receiver, particularly after drafting quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick, was certainly the smarter move.

ESPN’s Matt Miller agrees with this assessment.

“Let’s give the Bears credit for not overthinking and simply drafting great players. With a rookie quarterback added in Caleb Williams, selecting a go-to receiver for him to learn and grow with was brilliant,” Miller said. “It also helps that the two trained together, building chemistry in the pre-draft process. Odunze was my No. 3 overall prospect, which means Chicago drafted two of my top three players in this class.”

There is hype around the Bears and their offense in a way completely unfamiliar to Chicagoland. With Williams; Chicago’s receiver trio in Allen, Moore, and Odunze; a new offensive coordinator in Shane Waldron; two talented tight ends in Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett; and a new running back in D’Andre Swift, there is a lot to be excited about in Chicago.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Ariana Pensy: Email | Comment
Post your comments!