2024 Rookie Faceoff: Rome Odunze v Malik Nabers

Rookie wide receivers are typically a 50/50 proposition in rookie drafts, to say the least. In this edition of the 2024 Rookie Faceoff, we compare the second tier of receivers in the class, Rome Odunze vs. Malik Nabers. To see where they both fall in our rankings, check out our Rookie Rankings Page. Also, check out the 2024 NFL Draft coverage to stay up-to-date. For the sake of this faceoff, we will be comparing the prospects in seven categories. Size, speed, route running, hands, college production, and college dominator rating as well as draft capital and landing spot.

This faceoff features two elite receiving prospects battling out of the second tier of receivers. The winner will likely be WR2 in the 2024 rookie draft class behind presumed front-runner Marvin Harrison Jr. Odunze and Nabers possess impressive profiles and are viewed in the same range. Neither figures to gain enough momentum to make a run at the WR1 spot. However, which one will stake their claim to the WR2 spot?

Meet Rome Odunze

Embed from Getty Images

Rome Odunze spent four years at the University of Washington with two years of elite production. He was the focal piece in a high-flying offense that lost in the National Championship game last season. Odunze is an elite prospect who graded out nearly perfect in the ratings of several wide receiver experts such as Matt Harmon. He lands on a new-look Chicago Bears offense that is full of potential but could start slowly as they adapt to the NFL game. His agility and explosion scores were impressive at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine as he recorded a 4.03-second 20-yard Shuttle (91st-percentile) and 1.52-second 10-yard split (80th-percentile) as well as putting up a 39′ Vertical Jump (88th-percentile) and 124″ Broad Jump (70th-percentile) proving he has elite athleticism and potential to be a stud.

Meet Malik Nabers

Embed from Getty Images

Malik Nabers spent three years at LSU and produced two seasons with more than 1,000 yards receiving. He was easily the best pass-catcher on a talented offense and has an excellent explosion that makes him a tough player to stop. At the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine, he posted a Vertical Jump of 42′ (98th percentile) and a Broad Jump of 129″ (92nd percentile). This perfectly illustrates his elite level of explosiveness that is perhaps unmatched in this rookie class. Nabers could very easily be in the conversation for the WR1 overall in this class if it weren’t for a rough landing spot in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Player Comparables

The two most relevant player comparisons are lofty ones for both Odunze and Nabers as they are two of the premium wide receivers currently in the NFL. Odunze’s profile has him closest to Minnesota Vikings’s receiver Justin Jefferson in overall size and route precision, while Nabers is closest to Cincinnati Bengals superstar wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase with his speed and elite downfield presence. Both players were elite producers in their rookie seasons, so the expectations for them are going to be sky-high coming into the 2024 season, so it will be tough for them to live up to their ADPs. For now, let’s take a look to see how they stack up head-to-head.

Size Comparison

Rome Odunze checks in at 6’3″ and 212 lbs. while Malik Nabers is 6’0″ and 200 lbs. So, with a difference of three inches in height and 12 lbs of weight, this category is an easy win for Odunze. It’s not a deal breaker for Nabers as size isn’t the way he wins consistently. Nabers is the speed guy and Odunze is the size guy, so this box is predictably checked by Odunze.

Winner: Rome Odunze (1-0)

Speed Comparison

As far as speed goes, Nabers is considerably faster. he runs a 4.35 second 40-yard Dash and Odunze runs a 4.45 second 40-yard Dash and while this may not seem like a huge variance, it’s the difference between fast and lightning quick. Odunze gets the nod as a fast receiver, but Nabers falls into the category of lightning quick and as such wins the speed battle handily.

Winner: Malik Nabers (1-1)

Route Running

This one is a close call as they are both elite route runners. Rome Odunze is an excellent route runner in the short area of the field and is one of the best route runners in the intermediate to deep section of the field. If he were to be given a number grade, he would be in the 90th percentile of route runners all around.

Nabers on the other hand, is either the best or second best route runner in this draft class. My assessment of Nabers had him ranked as nearly a flawless route runner in the 99th percentile. It’s a shame that there can only be one winner in this category because these are two of the best route-runners in this class, but it’s easy to see that despite Odunze’s high-level route-running ability he is a distant second to the route-running savant Malik Nabers.

Winner: Malik Nabers (2-1)


This is another category where it’s a shame there can only be one winner, but that is the purpose of this series, to pick one winner between two prospects that are almost identical in value and skillset. Once again, Odunze has excellent hands and is a sure-handed and reliable target who excels at hauling in the deep ball and coming down with contested catches. Odunze will be a blessing for his rookie quarterback and has the hands that come with a seasoned veteran receiver.

The flip side of this argument is that Malik Nabers wins once again because he is almost a perfect prospect with his hands. He is a great contested catch specialist and is sure-handed across all levels of the field. He should once again be in the conversation for the best in this class in this category. So, despite Odunze boasting impressive catch ability, he finishes second place to the ultra-talented Nabers.

Winner: Malik Nabers (3-1)

College Production

We once again have another nail-biter of a category, further illustrating just how close these two elite prospects are. Odunze had two years of elite production during his time with the Washington Huskies. His career season saw him rack up 92 catches for 1,640 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns, a massive stat line to say the least.

Nabers also had two years of elite production at LSU and put up a comparable career season of 89 catches for 1,569 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. These two were both elite receivers with nearly identical trajectories and ceilings, but in the end, Odunze narrowly edged out Nabers with a career-high that had only three catches and one touchdown more, with an additional 71 yards to show for it.

Winner: Rome Odunze (2-3)

College Dominator

A category that has nothing to debate and simply comes down to a specific number, we see Odunze checking in with a 26.4% college dominator while Nabers put up a 33.7% college dominator.

These two were both elite target earners and producers at the collegiate level, but Nabers was on an entirely different level. The difference of 7.3% could be a case of Odunze having much more target competition with Jalen McMillan and Ja’Lynn Polk both being on the team, but in the end Nabers wins this category with an elite dominator rating.

Winner: Malik Nabers (4-2)

Landing Spot & Draft Capital

Rome Odunze was selected with pick 1.09, while Malik Nabers was selected with pick 1.06. Nabers narrowly edges out Odunze by three picks, but with both of them being top-ten selections it’s not a big enough gap to factor in, both have elite draft capital.

The deciding factor in this category is indeed the landing spot itself. While only a year ago, the Bears were a mess and regarded as a dumpster fire on offense, but after adding Keenan Allen and D’Andre Swift in free agency and selecting Caleb Williams first overall, they are now a much more appealing destination. This is why Odunze gets the win in this category. Nabers finds himself a member of the New York Giants, a team that looked awful last year after quarterback Daniel Jones seemingly fizzled out. Jones showed he had massive upside and if he can return to that level of play it could work out well for Nabers, but after losing star running back Saquon Barkley to the Eagles, this offense projects to be a disaster.

An early career difference in offensive potency is the reason that this category goes to Rome Odunze. The Bears and Giants appear to be two teams heading in opposite directions. I’ll take the team trending upward.

Winner: Rome Odunze (3-4)

And the Winner is…

Malik Nabers 4-3. This one was just about as close as it could have been. Both Odunze and nabers have elite profiles and excel in each category, but at the end of the day, Nabers is just slightly better. If I was on the clock and was forced to draft one or the other, I would be going with Nabers. Having said that, if Nabers was off the board already, I would jump at a chance to select Odunze as both are going to be elite receivers for many years to come.

If you would like to learn more about Odunze and Nabers, check out our 2024 Rookie Sneak Peek videos of both players on The Fantasy Football Universe Podcast.

Rome Odunze Washington
Malik Nabers LSU
Enjoying The FFU? Check out our EXCLUSIVE Patreon content!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top