June 19, 2024

Rookie wide receiver Rome Odunze has a strong sense of confidence and appreciates the opportunity to play alongside fellow rookie Caleb Williams, who was the No. 1 overall pick. He views their shared rookie status as a blessing, allowing them to develop and understand the offense together.

During a seven-on-seven drill at Friday’s rookie minicamp practice, Odunze initially stumbled in his route, leading quarterback Caleb Williams to adapt and extend the play. Despite the mishap, Williams managed to find Odunze open near the left sideline, resulting in a gain of 15-20 yards.

Washington receiver Rome Odunze evades a tackle against Washington State.

While it’s too early to determine the potential of the Williams-to-Odunze connection, this incident demonstrated Odunze’s ability to turn a disrupted play into a positive outcome. His positioning played a significant role, and he was rewarded by Williams for it.

Reflecting on the situation, Odunze expressed his satisfaction, stating that he couldn’t imagine a better scenario. He values the opportunity to grow alongside Williams, emphasizing their joint effort in studying the playbook and understanding various offensive concepts.

“It’s a fantastic way for me to learn because I prefer to grasp the entire concept first and then delve into the details to understand what I need to do within any specific scheme or concept. Being alongside him is truly a blessing.”

Odunze exudes self-confidence, but he also acknowledges the serendipitous circumstances that have positioned him for success. Initially considered an underachieving four-star recruit during his first two seasons at Washington, his career took a turn when coach Jimmy Lake was replaced by Kalen DeBoer. The arrival of DeBoer led to quarterback Michael Penix Jr, who had previously played under DeBoer at Indiana, transferring to Washington. This change catalyzed Odunze’s career, resulting in two prolific seasons playing alongside Penix.

Transitioning to the Bears, Odunze finds himself in an unexpected yet opportune situation, with Caleb Williams at quarterback and established receivers DJ Moore and Keenan Allen. While playing with a rookie quarterback in the NFL typically poses challenges, Odunze and Williams can facilitate each other’s success. Despite Penix’s talent, Williams is regarded as the superior NFL prospect.

Williams impresses Odunze with his effortless abilities, demonstrating proficiency in various aspects of quarterbacking. His continuous improvement instills confidence in Odunze, knowing that Williams can deliver accurate passes regardless of the situation on the field.

Rome Odunze - Football - University of Washington Athletics

Although Odunze acknowledges the need to adapt to the NFL game and prove himself against elite cornerbacks, he remains optimistic about the transition. While college cornerbacks may allow more physicality, NFL cornerbacks excel in technique, presenting a different challenge. Odunze anticipates adjusting to the NFL’s level of play and hopes to benefit from the league’s rules favoring receivers.

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