Chris Olave Draft Profile
Chris Olave is a wide receiver that has been making noise at Ohio State for the past three seasons. It feels like he has been ready to be a pro for a few years, and now it is finally his time to shine. At Ohio State, Olave was able to learn from, in my opinion, the best wide receiver coach in college football, Brian Hartline. He shared the field with a fellow first-round pick, Garrett Wilson, and absolutely torched the Big Ten his three years as a starter in Columbus. While I am not as high on Olave as the national media is, I still believe he will be a high-end number two receiver in the NFL. Olave was one of the biggest winners from the combine and has been training at the House of Athlete during the pre-draft process. Receiving knowledge from Brian Hartline and Brandon Marshall has to be extremely powerful and should allow him to make an impact from day one. Olave is pro-ready and will be an instant impact guy.
There is no receiver smoother than Chris Olave in this year’s draft. At the scouting combine, Olave ran a 4.39 40-yard dash; when he runs it looks like he is gliding through mid-air. While his speed is impressive, the control he has over his speed is even more impressive. His ability to snap down and plant his feet in the ground at the top of his routes makes him such a good route runner. His natural ability to manipulate how fast he is moving will allow offensive coordinators to call plays with longer developing plays downfield. Olave’s natural abilities will make him lethal for double and triple moves. For teams that love to throw the ball downfield, Olave can be an elite deep threat in the NFL. Olave’s ball skills are next level, and he tracks the football better than any receiver in this year’s draft. As I mentioned earlier, Olave has been able to work with and learn from some elite wide receivers. Hartline’s impact was apparent when watching Olave navigate through defenses and sit down in coverage. He is so far ahead of the learning curb when it comes to finding holes in different zones— this is one of the big reasons why I believe Olave will be able to come in and make an impact immediately.
While there are a ton of things that Olave makes look easy, there are some things that he does that just don’t look natural. As I mentioned earlier, Olave does a great job at catching the ball over his shoulder, but catching a ball over a defensive back is a different story. Olave’s catch radius isn’t great— he has a hard time catching passes that are behind him. I would love to see him become more flexible so he can make those uncomfortable catches. It sounds silly, but yoga and pliability are something that Olave should focus a lot of his training on. Being able to make off-kilter, uncomfortable catches would take Olave’s game to the next level. Playing in the Big Ten means that he did not face a ton of physical, press-corners. He worked with a lot of open space and soft corners. While we didn’t see Olave matchup against a lot of physical press corners, I believe he’ll be able to adjust easily because of the wiggle and control he shows at the top of his routes. If Olave is able to bring the “Allen Iverson crossover” that he does at the top of his routes to his release package, he should be able to have success against more physical corners.
The finesse element to Chris Olave’s game is what makes him such an attractive wide receiver prospect. I thought he got outshined by Garrett Wilson in his final year at Ohio State, but I still believe Olave will be a high-end number two receiver in the NFL. I am not drafting a number two receiver in the first round, which is why I have an early second-round grade on Olave. When it comes to what Olave does best— it is his smooth route running and ball skills. He reminds me a little bit of Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen and I see Olave taking on a similar role to him in the NFL. When I think of teams that stretch the field vertically and need a number two guy, I believe the Saints, Titans, and Cardinals are all good fits for Olave. While I may not have as high of a grade on Olave as the national media does, I am still a big fan of his game and believe he will be an elite number two receiver in the NFL.
Ability to Separate: 8.5/10
Release/Top of Routes: 6.75/8
Route Running: 7.5/8
Contested Catch: 6.5/8
Hands + Catch Radius: 6.5/8
Speed + Control: 6.75/7
Natural Talent: 4/5
Final Rating: 84
Pro Comparison: Adam Thielen
Team Fits: Saints, Titans, Cardinals
Draft Grade: Early Second Round Pick
Draft Projection: Late First - Early Second Round Pick