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Chris Olave still considered a draft “steal” even at 11th overall

Could he go on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year?

Michigan State v Ohio State Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints traded up to draft Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave with the 11th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Despite trading the elite wide receiver just outside of the top ten draft selections, could you still classify Olave as a draft day “steal?” Our friends over at Bleacher Report seem to think so, where they listed Olave as the Saints’ steal of the 2022 draft:

Like the Dolphins, the Saints only had a handful of picks this year, and none ended up representing a massive value for the club.

The best selection from New Orleans’ five picks was Chris Olave, the standout wide receiver from Ohio State. Olave was the third WR off the board in a stacked class, getting selected just behind USC’s Drake London (No. 8) and Buckeyes teammate Garrett Wilson (No. 10).

This was far from a reach, as the B/R Scouting Department had Olave rated as the year’s second-best wideout and a top-10 prospect.

It’s debatable how much of a need this selection fills, however, as the cap-strapped Saints still have some major holes to fill elsewhere after a ho-hum free agency signing period.

Regardless, Olave should make life easier for Jameis Winston in 2022 and whoever ends up starting under center in the future for this rebuilding organization.

He’s a top-tier route-runner who is arguably the most pro-ready of the rookie wideouts. He’s not the biggest (6’0”, 187 pounds) or fastest (4.39 40-yard dash), but he still has the size and speed to complement his overall athleticism.

Expect Olave to emerge as a potential Pro Bowler early in his career and stick around for a long time.

Offensive Rookie of the Year is often reserved for quarterbacks, and this year’s rookie quarterback class leaves a lot to be desired. Only one quarterback - Pitt QB Kenny Pickett to the Pittsburgh Steelers - was drafted in the first round, and some of the fallers like Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder, and Matt Corral are not expected to start for their teams in 2022. Similarly, when not a quarterback, Offensive Rookie of the Year often goes to a running back. Unlike past years, there were not any “elite” running backs in this year’s class, without a single running back selected in the first round. USC’s Breece Hall was the first running back off the board, going to the New York Jets where he’s expected to play in an early running back by committee.

That means it will likely be one of the high end wide receivers to win rookie of the year, so the group that comes to mind would be Atlanta’s Drake London, New York’s (Jets) Garrett Wilson, Detroit’s Jameson Williams, and New Orleans’ Chris Olave. Looking at the group of quarterbacks on those teams, Olave definitely has the best situation with a gunslinger like Jameis Winston at the helm as opposed to Marcus Mariota, Zach Wilson, and Jared Goff.

Olave could very well find his way in Offensive Rookie of the Year contention, and even if drafted 11th overall, that should still be a draft day steal.