2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Chris Olave

2022 NFL Scouting Report: Chris Olave

A three-year starter with the Ohio State Buckeyes, Chris Olave was one of the most prolific wide receivers in the program’s history. A four-star recruit out of high school, the California native was ranked as the 54th player at his position. He ultimately landed with the team in 2018 after choosing them over USC, UCLA, and Utah. Mainly a special teams contributor, the 21-year-old appeared in seven games during his freshman season. He hauled in 12 receptions for 197 yards and three touchdowns. Becoming a full-time starter during his final three years, Olave racked up the accolades. This included All Big-Ten honors twice. He was also a semi-finalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wide receiver in 2021. 

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Player Bio

Name: Chris Olave
Position: Wide Receiver
School: Ohio State
Class: Senior
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 188 lbs 

Games Watched: Clemson (2020), Michigan State (2021), Michigan (2021), Oregon (2021), Penn State (2021)

Major Injury History: None

Player Breakdown

Hands/Ball Security (8.25/10)

With just eight drops across 38 games at Ohio State, Olave has reliable hands. He has the focus to frame the ball and catch it away from his body. Along with this, he can also snatch the ball out of the air on longer pass plays down the field to make highlight-reel catches and keep the chains moving. He is sometimes knocked off the ball when he is forced to fight through the ball with an opposing defender due to his smaller stature. However, he still has some of the best hands in the draft, leading to very minimal concentration drops.

Contested Catch (8.5/10) 

Olave possesses the ability to go up and make a play over an opposing defender when the ball is in the air. With a large catch radius at just 6-foot-1, Olave can make plays above the rim against an opposing defensive back. He sometimes struggled to fight through the contact and bring the ball down when going up to make a big play. However, he has outstanding body control and a solid contested catch ability that should only continue to develop at the NFL level.

Tracking/Body Control (9/10)

One of the best assets of his game, Olave is excellent at tracking the ball in the air and pulling in catches. He can slide past opposing defensive backs at the line of scrimmage while pulling in deep balls over the shoulder. He is excellent at not breaking stride when hauling in a reception. Furthermore, Olave can adjust his speed and footing on the route to haul in the pass in stride and create a big play.

Route Running (9.5/10)

In the conversation for the best in the draft class, Olave is a true technician as a route runner. He can win on nearly every route in the book by setting defenders up on comeback routes close to the line of scrimmage. Furthermore, the 21-year-old can also beat his man on double moves down the sidelines while winning on crossing patterns over the middle of the field too. Outstanding at finding the soft spots when faced with zone coverage, Olave can sit down and make himself available to his quarterback.

Separation (8.5/10) 

Olave separated from opposing defenders at the college level. He has the patience, poise, and manipulation skills to set up defensive backs when running routes to pull away. Along with this, the three-year starter uses his stellar footwork, burst, and agility to create an angle for his quarterback. Olave averaged over 15 yards per reception during his college career. The Mission Hills high school alumn creates a substantial amount of easy looks in a vertical passing system.

Release (9/10)

Often overmatching the opposing defensive back at Ohio State, Olave was often able to create a clean release off the line of scrimmage. He has a variety of packages to get off and win early. The 188-pound wideout can take on the contact and use his quickness and acceleration in short areas to beat it. While he could struggle against hard press in the NFL, he is such a polished route runner that this should be an afterthought for teams.

Run After the Catch (8.75/10) 

Able to create after the catch, Olave can haul the ball in on deep routes and separate from the opposing defensive back once he hauls the pass in. He plays quick and can win foot races with opposing defenders to create chunk plays on offense. Furthermore, he also has the vision on short routes near the line of scrimmage to hit the hole and make defenders miss. Olave is not an overly strong player by any means, do not expect him to break tackles when running with the ball in his hands as he lacks the playing strength to shed opponents.

Vertical Speed (8.75/10)

While he lacks the game-breaking speed like other receivers in years past, Olave has enough burst to pass opposing defensive backs on post and go routes. Along with this, he can also make up ground on defensive backs when they play off coverage against him. Strong at beating defenders on double moves, Olave has the route running ability and long speed to get over the top of the defense. Reportedly clocking in at a 4.38 40-yard dash time at Ohio State, look for him to run well at the NFL Draft Combine in March.

Burst/Acceleration (4/5)

Impressive on tape, Olave can get up to his top speed quickly when running routes. He can accelerate in and out of his breaks, thanks to his quick burst off the line of scrimmage. Furthermore, he can pull away from defenders when the ball gets in his hands. This led him to break the all-time school record for touchdowns at Ohio State after he surpassed David Boston.

Athleticism (4.5/5)

A three-sport athlete at his high school in California, Olave competed in football, basketball, and track. He ran a 10.8 100-meter dash while also long jumping over 23 feet. Evident in his play on the football field, he can go up over opposing defenders to high point the football and make a play above the rim while also running past them on vertical routes.

Blocking (3/5)

Displaying the effort and willingness to block on tape, Olave has the strength to compete at the NFL level. He is sometimes knocked back on tape when blocking on the outside on a run play due to his small frame. However, he remains a high effort player who will give it his all when called upon.

Versatility (3.75/5)

Starting as a special teams contributor during his first year in Columbus, Olave has only fielded one kick return and two punt returns throughout his four seasons at Ohio State. However, he still can play special teams at the pro level. Possessing the ability to move all over the formation due to his outstanding route running abilities, he can play both outside and in the slot if teams become worried about his physicality on the perimeter.

Player Summary

Olave will join his teammate in Garrett Wilson amidst a talented group of Ohio State receivers who have gone on to play in the NFL. He is expected to be one of a handful of wideouts selected on night number one of the draft. The 2021 Second-team All-American has the route-running skills and the football IQ to be a featured option in an offense. He lacks the strength and stature to be a possession receiver in traffic like other draft class members. However, Olave can still get off the line of scrimmage and separate against any opposing defensive back. Expect him to thrive in a vertical passing system where he can beat his man downfield and create chunk plays.

Rookie Projection: Featured Number Two Receiver

Third Year Projection: Pro Bowl/1,000-Yard Receiver

Final Grade (85.5/100): Late First-Round Pick

Player Comp: D.J. Moore

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