Forecasting Rome Odunze's rookie season with the Chicago Bears

2024 NFL Draft - Portraits
2024 NFL Draft - Portraits / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

What should the expectations be for first-year, Chicago Bears' first-round pick Rome Odunze? The answer is not what some people are going to want to hear; when you spend all draft cycle hearing about how great Odunze is, and when you spend a top ten pick on a receiver, you would assume the sky is the limit.

The sky is not exactly the limit in year one alone, even though Odunze is one of the best receiver prospects we have seen in the last ten years. Odunze is in that tier of receiver prospects that were as good as Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, Amari Cooper, Garrett Wilson, and Ja’Marr Chase. 

If you are expecting a 1000-yard season or bust your expectations are too high. How many times has a WR3 on the depth charts for the Chicago Bears had a 1000-yard season? How many times has a rookie receiver for Chicago had 1000 yards? How many times are you going to see three wide receiver formations in the Chicago cold? And how many times have they done that with a rookie quarterback? 

Projecting Rome Odunze's rookie season with the Bears.

As long as Odunze steps up and contributes if he is thrown into a WR1 or WR2 role in certain parts of the upcoming season, in addition to contributing in the red zone, that is all you can ask for out of the rookie. It's likely we will not see Odunze get a good chance to contribute in a big way out of the gates behind Keenan Allen, and DJ Moore. And the take-off for Odunze will be in year two when Keenan Allen is inevitably not on the Bears. 

I would hope for a modest 700 yards as well as five touchdowns in his rookie season. If you look at what Jordan Addison did in year one as a highly touted rookie for the Vikings, you should hope but not expect a similar season for Odunze. Odunze has a less-proven quarterback, worse climate conditions, and more proven veterans to fight for playing time with. And I say this knowing that Odunze was a far better player out of college than Addison was out of college. The moral of the story? Dampen your expectations for Odunze and don’t pull out the pitchforks if he doesn’t lodge a 1000-yard season in year one, and just hope Odunze doesn’t return punts for Chicago either.