New Chicago Bears Receiver Rome Odunze Earns High Praise from Ryan Poles

Chicago Bears, Rome Odunze
Chicago Bears, Rome Odunze / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The dust has settled and the Chicago Bears have officially juiced their offense with two new potential superstars in Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze. For the former, it had been assumed for weeks, if not months, that the Heisman winner would be coming to the Windy City, but fans were treated with another top offensive addition just eight selections later.

Chicago Bears Select "Blue Collar" Receiver Rome Odunze 9th Overall

Odunze was a highly regarded prospect throughout the pre-draft process, and the 6'3" receiver put some dazzling plays on tape during his career at Washington. Still, in Ryan Poles's post-first-round press conference, the general manager emphasized Odunze's traits as a person alongside his traits as a player.

"I don't know where to start with that guy," Poles said of Odunze. "First as a human being, what a great guy... just blue collar in the way he goes about things, but as a receiver, he can align anywhere... You love his ability to finish in contested situations, [he] plays strong, plays big, [his] run after catch is very good. He's a punt returner as well. [Odunze] just put the time in and he got better and better every single year. And he's a winner. Impact the game at any moment. If you're a quarterback and you're in doubt and you want to just go give your guy an opportunity to go finish, he's your guy. He's done that consistently."

Odunze seems to fit the mold of what the Chicago Bears covet in terms of his competitiveness and love for the game, two factors that the front office has keyed in on recently. The Washington product has also put in time with Williams, as the two were involved in a recent workout that included Bears receivers D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen. Alongside these two perennial stars, Odunze should shine both as a deep-threat target and with the ball in his hands.

An interesting nugget from Poles's comments is how the team views Odunze as a potential special teams player, a role that the team has struggled to find consistency in recently. With the NFL's kickoff system set to change this season, the explosive receiver could bring value as a returner and may help the Bears improve their average starting field position from a year prior.

No matter what role(s) he eventually fills out for the Bears on offense and/or special teams, it is clear that Williams wanted Odunze, something that cannot go unappreciated. Just last season, Houston Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud pined for his team to pick up receiver Tank Dell. The two built a relationship during their pre-draft processes and became a dangerous quarterback-receiver duo almost immediately, and it seems like Williams and Odunze could be on the way to building a similar relationship in Chicago.