Chris Olave was drafted by the New Orleans Saints when they selected him 11th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Saints moved up to acquire the speedster to pair him with Michael Thomas. Since 2019, Chris Olave has established himself as one of college football's most dangerous receivers. He certainly has earned it. Olave finished his high-school career at Mission Hills High School near San Diego, where he landed a three-star prospect rating according to 247Sports following a senior season that included 93 catches for 1,764 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also ran track and field. After getting recruited by a number of West Coast schools including UCLA and USC, Olave chose to be a part of a large recruiting class at Ohio State.
It did not take him long to get acclimated. As a sophomore, Olave had 840 yards and 12 touchdowns to lead the Buckeyes. He then built on that with seven touchdowns in seven games in a Covid-shortened 2020, then stayed in school for his senior year and notched 65 grabs for 936 yards and 13 scores in 2021. He was a Biletnikoff Award finalist and first-team All-Big Ten in each of his final two years and played in three Big Ten Championship Games and three College Football Playoff Games. He leaves Ohio State as the all-time record holder in receiving touchdowns with 35.
Age as of Week 1: 22 | Height: 6-0 3/8 | Weight: 187 | 40-time: 4.39
Comparable body-type to: Calvin Ridley
We're breaking down everything you need to know about Olave from a Fantasy manager perspective, including best fits, Dynasty outlook, measurables, scouting report, key stats and an NFL comparison.
Olave pairs well with Michael Thomas, who will draw the other team's best corner and works in a different area of the field. He also pairs well with the Jameis Winston we knew before 2021, the one who loved the big play. Still, we'd expect Thomas to continue to dominate targets, which will limit Olave to a boom-bust WR4 for as long as Thomas is on the field. That being said, Thomas is 29 years old and hasn't been himself in two years. If Thomas can't get back to his prior form, Olave has top-20 upside as soon as this year.
Olave enters the Dynasty conversation as a low-end No. 2 wide receiver who has more appeal to rebuilding teams than contenders. Longterm, there is definitely top-12 upside and Thomas' age and injury history could mean that the upside comes sooner that we would expect. Expect him to be a boom-or-bust option early in his career. He'll be worth a top-six pick in rookie-only drafts.
- Experienced! Three-year starter at Ohio State.
- Lined up across the field but ran a route from the outside 81% of the time. He's best utilized as a flanker (lines up a yard off the line of scrimmage or in motion before the snap).
- Explosive burst off snap; was very dangerous to defenses when he mixed in hops, jump-cuts and high-steps to help change speed and got cornerbacks off-balance.
- Agile feet and nuance made him a very good route-runner. Used high-steps and head-bobs to freeze defenders, be it to create a little space or to help sell his route on run plays. Also hit the brakes nicely to turn back to the quarterback in about four steps. Took advantage of unpolished college cornerbacks who would turn their heads too soon on a play. Most-utilized routes were the comeback/hitch, out, dig, crosser and go.
- Very good acceleration and speed created problems for opposing defensive backs. He frequently sped past those DBs who lined up close and tried to run with him and crushed on in- and out-breaking routes when defenders feared his speed and gave him too much space to work with. He routinely picked up yards after the catch against zone coverage.
- Also did well changing speeds in his routes to help confuse cornerbacks. One of the tools in his arsenal was running slow to set a defender up and then accelerating fast to buy space to make a play.
- Good hands in general -- only five drops on 101 targets in 2021. Really good at tracking long throws; frequently waited until the latest moment to move his hands in position for the grab so as to not give away to a defender when a target was headed his way. Made plenty of receptions in close coverage and was notably good at bringing in off-target throws.
- Shades of Cris Carter -- Olave was very good snaring passes along the sideline and keeping at least a toe in-bounds.
- Elite awareness in general but certainly when a play broke down. On multiple occasions, Olave reacted to his quarterback's scramble and quickly made himself available for the improvisational target.
- Never seemed to fear an impending hit. Made several catches in close quarters and held on to the ball through contact.
- Has experience as a special-teams rusher, blocking two punts in 2019.
- Soft-spoken, mature kid in media interviews.
- Aside from leaving a 2021 game early after taking a hit, there is no documented injury history dating back to high school.
- Can he improve his physicality and play strength? Olave told an interviewer last June that NFL evaluators wanted him to improve his play strength and play more physical before his senior season, but those same issues showed up in 2021.
- Average height and modest build, both of which will keep him from dominating bigger, stronger cornerbacks.
- Wasn't pressed often in coverage but when he was, he was slowed down and impacted his ability to make gains after the catch.
- A handful of catches saw him use his body to help secure the ball.
- While he made plenty of receptions in close quarters, he didn't have many contested catches where a defensive back is also going for the ball.
- Pro Football Focus said Olave avoided two tackles all of 2021 and 10 for his entire career. Rarely used a stiff-arm after the catch. His elusiveness comes from his speed, vision and cutting ability, not from escaping tackles.
- At best a solid blocker -- at times does okay, at times doesn't seem to try very hard for more than a couple of seconds.
- Inexperienced return man -- totaled three returns on special teams (two on punts, one on a kick).
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Advanced stats to know
- Two missed tackles forced in 2021 per Pro Football Focus
- 2.29 yards per route run in 2021 (74th among qualified receivers)
- 11 contested catches in 2021 (32nd)
- 4.25 yards after catch per reception in 2021 (82nd)
- 1.86 yards after catch per reception when pressed after the snap in 2021 (ranked 100th among all college receivers with at least 50 receptions)
- drop rate: 8.5% (31st)
- 36 of his 65 receptions in 2021 were on throws that traveled nine or fewer yards
- Eleven 100-yard games. Had 100-plus yards in 5 of 7 games in 2020 and four more in his first five of 2021, then finished with one in his final six
- Zero 1,000-yard seasons
- Scored 32 touchdowns in his last 31 games over three years at Ohio State
- Holds the record of most career touchdown receptions in Buckeyes history at 35
Olave is a fast, savvy receiver who can run great routes but doesn't play with a lot of physicality. Pair that with his average height and lean build and he's reminiscent of Brandin Cooks, who has been busting past NFL defenders for eight years despite being under six-foot and 190 pounds. Cooks' quickness has helped him get open and make plays for years. Hopefully, Olave does the same thing at the next level and doesn't fall prey to the shortcomings most undersized wide receivers have.