Bears 1st-rounder Rome Odunze couldn't believe his new team's meager receiving record

The Chicago Bears were arguably the biggest winners of the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. A big part of that was Rome Odunze.

Everyone knew the Bears were going to take USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the first overall pick. The bigger question is what they would do with the ninth overall pick, as there was no shortage of possibilities in a historically offense-heavy draft.

The answer turned out to be Odunze, the well-regarded wide receiver out of Washington who had already developed a friendship with Williams. It was a universally lauded pick after Odunze's stellar final year with the Huskies, with the 21-year-old joining an already stacked receiving corps alongside D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen.

An elite wide receiver corps would be something new to the Bears, and a single receiver being good for several years would be even more unprecedented. Odunze learned that himself on Friday during an appearance on the "Parkins & Spiegel Show," where the hosts surprised him by revealing the team's incredibly low receiving yards record.

When asked who held the record, Odunze guessed Brandon Marshall, who is actually 13th despite playing only three seasons in Chicago. The correct answer is Johnny Morris, who posted 5,059 yards between 1958 and 1967.

When told of Morris' total, Odunze sounded stunned.

"In ... in the career?!" Odunze said, making sure he heard them right.

After a hearty laugh, Odunze said what every Bears fan was hoping to hear.

"Hey man, well I hope I'll go break that record and hopefully add a few thousand to that."

You can listen to the whole exchange here:

In case you need some perspective on how low a 5,059-yard record is, consider that the next-lowest receiving record by the NFL's current 32 teams is the Baltimore Ravens, who have only existed for about three decades and still managed to get 5,777 receiving yards across six seasons out of an aging Derrick Mason.

The Bears' record of 5,059 receiving yards is basically five good seasons out of a modern wide receiver these days. Minnesota Vikings All-Pro Justin Jefferson reached that total last September, in the second game of his fourth season.

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 25: Washington Wide Receiver Rome Odunze holds a jersey on stage after being taken ninth overall by the Chicago Bears during Day 1 of the NFL Draft on April 25, 2024 at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza in Detroit, MI. (Photo by John Smolek/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Rome Odunze joins the Bears with high expectations and a low bar to clear. (Photo by John Smolek/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

This all goes to show just how bleak the Bears' passing game has been historically, even as the NFL becomes more and more pass-happy as time goes on. Behind Morris is Harlon Hill, an end (yes, that's the position he played) who posted 4,616 yards between 1954 and 1961. Next is a name fans might actually recognize: Alshon Jeffery, who had 4,549 yards between 2012 and 2016 during the Jay Cutler era.

That's actually a reminder of another record that could hopefully be broken in the next several years, as Williams would only have to post 23,443 passing yards to become the Bears' all-time leading passer. Even if Williams posts only 3,600 yards per year — which would rank 17th in the NFL last year — he'd reach that total in Year 7.