Chicago Bears Credited With Arguably Top Steal of NFL Draft

Chicago Bears Trade Proposal Vikings Raiders Trade Back 2024 NFL Draft

Getty Bears general manager Ryan Poles (left) and head coach Matt Eberflus.

Draft steals are typically mid- to late-round picks who turn out to be stars, but sometimes a blockbuster player can be just as big and unexpected of a win, and the Chicago Bears appear to have found themselves one in wide receiver Rome Odunze.

ESPN’s Field Yates compiled a list of the “best picks” and “top steals” in every round of the 2024 NFL draft, and Odunze was the first player he mentioned. As has often been the case since Chicago selected quarterback Caleb Williams No. 1 and Odunze 9th overall, part of both players’ value is connected to their pairing with the other.

“Coming out of the first round with the Williams-Odunze duo is a dream scenario for Chicago,” Yates wrote. “Odunze was my sixth-ranked prospect, and I firmly believe that no matter how talented a young quarterback is — and Williams is plenty talented — a team should do everything in its power to surround him with the best possible supporting cast. The Bears furthered that effort with the addition of Odunze to a now-stacked receiver room. He’s an exceptional route runner, and Williams will love his contested catch ability.”

Bears Turned Down Multiple Trade Offers to Select Rome Odunze No. 9 Overall

Rome Odunze, Bears

GettyWide receiver Rome Odunze of the Chicago Bears.

Adding to Yates’ notion of Odunze as a steal for the Bears, even despite their selection of him inside the top 10, is that general manager Ryan Poles told the Pat McAfee Show that several teams inquired about trading up to No. 9 for the receiver, but Chicago rebuffed them all.

“Rome was at the top of our list. We have our draft board separated by different colors and there are certain guys you don’t pass up on, and Rome’s one of them,” Poles said on May 1. “It’s hard to find a guy that is that big and that talented at the receiver spot and, on top of that, being an unbelievable human being as well. There was no movement off of Rome at all.”

Precisely who those teams were and what they offered is unclear. However, Chicago could have feasibly traded back just a handful of picks in the first round, drafted a high-quality player at a position of need — such as edge rusher, defensive tackle or offensive tackle — and picked up at least a second-round selection in exchange for the rights to pick No. 9 and Odunze. And that is probably on the low end of what the Bears could have extracted in a deal on draft night.

That they passed on that opportunity — essentially declaring Odunze worth more than two players carrying mid-first round and second-round value, respectively — is evidence of how the Bears view their new wideout.

Rome Odunze’s Value Increased by Talent Around Him on Bears Roster

DJ Moore Caleb Williams Justin Fields Chicago Bears News

GettyChicago Bears wide receiver DJ Moore.

One must also consider Odunze’s value in relation to not just his new quarterback, but also the offense around him in Chicago, which appears now to be dynamic.

Pro Bowl Keenan Allen and DJ Moore will be the other top players in the receiver room, joining pass-catching threats in tight end Cole Kmet and running back D’Andre Swift.

Odunze may frequently face favorable matchups against opponents’ third-best coverage defenders, which should prove a nightmare for defensive coordinators trying to contain the 6-foot, 3-inch and 215-pound wideout who led the FBS last season with 1,640 receiving yards.

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