Green Bay Packers

Chris Olave 2022 NFL Draft Profile

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Continuing our Green Bay Packers draft coverage at Game on Wisconsin, this week I will be putting wide receiver Chris Olave out of Ohio State under the microscope.

Chris Olave – WR – Ohio State – 6’0 – 187 lbs

A former 3-Star recruit out of California, Chris Olave put together one of the greatest careers a wide receiver has ever assembled for the Buckeyes. Olave totaled 176 receptions for 2,711 yards and 35 touchdowns through four seasons in Columbus. Let’s dive into one of the most productive prospects this class has to offer. 

What I Like

+ Speed

+ Big Play Ability

+ Separation

+ Release Package 

++ Route Running 

Speed. Kills. Olave simply moves at a different speed than everyone else on the field. I couldn’t stop saying to myself “this guy lines up expecting a house call on every snap”. While his long speed is certainly impressive, what I appreciate most is his quickness and burst in tight spaces to accelerate at a gear 99% of DBs just don’t have. Olave does well to use this acceleration to run around defenders after the catch, but where it is most useful is gaining an extra yard of separation in the blink of an eye. This trait is also on display when he’s met with contact at the line of scrimmage. Olave is able to avoid press due to the remarkably quick feet he possesses. 

My favorite aspect of Olave’s game, by far, is his ability to win with pure route running and a clear, technical understanding of where he needs to be and when he needs to be there. For my money, this young man is the best route runner in the 2022 class. I particularly enjoy his ability to win in a variety of ways, whether it’s a double move, crosser, or even a 6 yard slant. Olave has a unique ability to use his top end speed effectively at each level of the field, this guy is a true three level threat. What really catches my eyes most is just how effortless and smooth he is in every aspect of his game. Does this guy even break a sweat? He’s 0-60 almost immediately and makes it look so silky smooth it almost makes me uncomfortable. 

What I Haven’t Seen Yet

– True Ball Skills

– Winning Through Contact 

– Run Blocking 

– Special Teams Value

While he is certainly a high end prospect, he’s just not perfect…. Yet. Olave did not display a true ability to win 50/50 balls when having to high point the football through defenders and contact. He can track the deep ball over his shoulders all day long but when it comes to him vs. the DB in close quarters with the ball on the way, the DB gets the edge. I don’t expect this to change much in the NFL, as he’s slight in build and only had a 32” vertical jump at the combine. The tools just aren’t there for him to consistently win here in the NFL. This really shouldn’t hinder him much, as he’s going to have plenty of separation regularly throughout his career. 

Once again, Olave’s frame comes to bite him. This time in the run game. You’re just not running to his side of the field unless he’s accompanied by a tight end or pulling offensive lineman. This doesn’t really bother me, but it could become a factor when Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst  is on the clock choosing between his favorite receiver on the board. 

Overview

What a fun watch. Chris Olave is the highest floor receiver in the 2022 draft from my evaluation. I can see him immediately stepping in and being a clear WR2 in any offense with potential to take over as an alpha WR1 as time progresses. While he isn’t my first pick, I’d be delighted to see Chris Olave in Green Bay come April’s end. 

Grade: Round 1

Role: Primary boundary receiver with high upside inside capability. Future WR1 in any offense. 

NFL Comp: Stefon Diggs 

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