Bears have a plan for Rome Odunze that should scare the NFC North

The Bears are going to unleash Odunze.
Chicago Bears Rookie Minicamp
Chicago Bears Rookie Minicamp / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The future is now for the Chicago Bears, as they are not willing to suffer through normal rookie growing pains during Caleb Williams' debut season. With a wide receiver trio of Keenan Allen, DJ Moore, and No. 9 overall pick Rome Odunze leading the charge, the Bears' offense promises to be nothing short of electric.

After drafting Odunze No. 9 overall, a pick many believed would be used on a defensive player, in the 2024 NFL Draft, it's on Matt Eberflus and new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron to devise ways to get him the ball in space as much as possible.

The Bears seem to believe that Odunze can contribute in more ways than just running crossers over the middle. The Bears are so enamored with his playmaking talent that they are strongly considering making him the punt returner.

“Rome is an every-down player. Rome’s a first-down player, a second-down player, a third-down player and a fourth-down player,” special teams coordinator Richard Hightower said. “He had three returns on the books and one of those three returns was a house call.”

Bears considering making Rome Odunze punt returner in 2024

Odunze had a whopping grand total of three punt returns in college. Oddly enough, one of those three was an 83-yard touchdown during the team's destruction of Pac-12 rival Cal. Odunze's elusiveness may not have been his primary positive trait, but but was certainly a part of the rich tapestry that attracted NFL teams.

It remains uncertain just how Chicago's depth chart will shake out, especially at wide receiver. It seems likely, however, that Odunze will begin his pro career as the No. 3 wideout behind the veteran Allen and experienced Moore. It would be a shame to limit him to just three or four touches a game.

Chicago's special teams, as a whole, were underwhelming last year. While Odunze doesn't have to be Devin Hester as a returner, he certainly could give that unit a bit of a spark. When he received the ball in the open field, his creativity as a runner and slipperiness were on full display.

While the Bears are allegedly trying to win more than most teams fresh off earning a Top 10 pick, they should also be concerned about player development. Ryan Pace could have egg on his face if the Odunze pick flops, and making him a returner could be a very creative way to maximize his value.