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Chris Olave prospect analysis and fit with the Saints

With the 11th pick, the Saints selected wide receiver Chris Olave... What can he do for New Orleans and what traits does he bring to their offense?

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The time has finally come...

All off-season New Orleans Saints fans have waited anxiously for the team to upgrade at the wide receiver position. Yesterday, thankfully that wait came to an end. The team moved up five spots from their initial number sixteen selection to select wide receiver Chris Olave, one of the highly touted receivers out of THE Ohio State (Saint) University. Saints Head Coach Dennis Allen stated in his press conference that he felt comfortable moving up in round one to get Olave, calling him the most “well-rounded” receiver in the draft.

One of the things Dennis Allen also mentioned, was how polished Olave is. Notably giving high praise to his route running ability as well as his sure handedness as a receiver.

After listening to these quotes and watching a bit of Olave’s film, I wanted to discuss the completeness of Olave’s game and what he can deliver to the Saints offense.

2022 NFL Draft - Round 1 Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

An aspect of Olave’s game that I immediately took notice of is how smooth and under control he is as a player. He never seems to run over his own feet or do too much with the football. His ability to stop under control and accelerate when needed speaks to his unique athletic makeup.

Here you can see Olave get forced up against the sideline, be able to stop on a dime, to then read his block and accelerate into the endzone.

His sideline awareness is something that was also impressive to me. There are countless occasions where he is able to come to a full halt to get one or two feet in bounds to make a catch.

When it comes to route running, as we stated previously Olave is superior in that area. He is an extremely clean runner and is able to maintain speed out his breaks.

In this clip, you can see how effortless he looks getting to top speed climbing out of his break.

This is a route that the Saints love to run (6-step rhythm out). Olave presses the corner vertically and is able to smoothly transition his speed into his route as he rolls out of his break.

Here is an example of Deonte Harty running this very same route, a staple in the Saints offense.

These traits make it hard for a defensive back to make breaks on the ball because of how subtle and deceptively fast Olave is as a route runner.

Lastly, coach Dennis Allen talked about his hands. Olave showed great ability in being able to extend for the football over the course of his career in college. And what I mean by that is using his entire arm’s length to secure the catch. The part that makes it more impressive is that in order to do this, you must have an elite sense of hand placement and a knack for tracking the football.

Here are a few clips that attest to that.

Pretty impressive stuff.

The Saints selection of Olave should give the team an immediate one, two punch at wide receiver with the counterpart being a now healthy Michael Thomas in the fold. I personally fully expect Olave to fit perfectly within the Saints offense because there are simply not many flaws in his game. He gives off the ability to scare defenses in such a unique way. A way unlike any receiver is this year's class. No, Olave is not a physical freak of nature that jumps off the screen. Or a super explosive speedster that will leave your defensive backs out of breath. That is just not who he is. What he can do is very special in its own way though. He can run every route in the route tree and make each one look exactly the same within the first five yards. He can take the top off your defense at any point in time if need be. He understands spacing and will throttle down to ensure correct timing within the play. And yes of course, he can catch the football. I would not be surprised if Olave had a Justin Jefferson-like start to his career, as they were viewed in a similar way leading up to the draft as far as their situation in college (not being viewed as the top guy on their teams).

All in all, I would expect big things from the Saints newest offensive weapon this upcoming season.

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