2022 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Chris Olave (Fantasy Football)
Ohio State has been a college football powerhouse over the last decade. Since 2012, the Buckeyes have had 48 players selected in the first three rounds of the NFL draft. Only seven have been wide receivers, and none of those wideouts have been taken in the first round. They’re all listed in the table below.
That’s likely to change this year. According to Grinding the Mocks‘ expected draft position, two OSU wideouts are projected to be taken within the first 25 picks. Garrett Wilson could be the first receiver selected in the 2022 class, so make sure to check out his rookie profile too. In this article, however, we’ll take a look at the other Buckeye expected to get drafted in round one, Chris Olave.
Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series going on until the 2022 NFL Draft. For more on each rookie, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of the UDK+ for 2022.
Olave was a rare four-sport athlete in high school. Along with football, he also played basketball, baseball, and track. He ran the 100 meters in a blazing 10.8 seconds and long jumped an impressive 23’6”. As notable as those numbers are, it was clear his future was in football. His 26 touchdowns as a senior helped earn him the offer from Ohio State.
Despite the crowded wide receiver room in Columbus, Olave earned playing time and put up some stats as a true freshman. His receiving production would only grow over the next three seasons. While his per-game stats touch a slight dip in his final season, he still led the Buckeyes with 13 receiving touchdowns as a senior. He decided to sit out the Rose Bowl but still left Ohio State as the school’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions.
|Height||Weight||40-Yard Dash||Hand Size||247 Sports|
|6’0”||187lbs||4.39 sec||9.5”||Three-star recruit|
Olave measures in slightly shorter and lighter than the average fantasy WR1, as seen in the UDK+ Dynasty Pass production profiles, though not far enough away from the average to be concerning.
His 40-yard dash was one of the biggest stories of the combine in Indianapolis. His unofficial time popped up as a ridiculous 4.26 seconds. The official time came in significantly slower but still exceptional at 4.39 seconds.
When looking for current NFL wideouts that match his size and speed, some notable names emerge. Stefon Diggs, Calvin Ridley, William Fuller V, and Darius Slayton all ran comparable times with similar builds. Measurements aren’t everything, but Olave’s align with these wideouts that have put up huge fantasy numbers at varying levels of consistency in recent years.
What’s on Tape
Games Viewed: Maryland (2019), Rutgers (2019), Nebraska (2020), Indiana (2020), Minnesota (2021), Oregon (2021), Penn State (2021), Michigan State (2021)
He knows how to find open space.
Olave has a knack for finding the soft spot in the zone. He knows when to throttle down on crossing routes and can find open spaces when his quarterback extends plays. This ability showed up most often on short hitches and intermediate comeback routes. In the clip below, he settles into the opening between two defenders right at the sticks to convert on third down.
Body control and in air adjustments
Ball tracking. Toe-tapping. Tightrope walking. Olave has an innate ability to control and adjust his body to make plays. In this clip, Olave had burned his defender and expected the throw to be led over his inside shoulder. However, his quarterback got hit as he was throwing, and the ball sailed to the outside. He adjusted on the fly, got his toes down, and secured the ball with his hands to make a spectacular catch.
He can be moved all over the formation.
Olave predominately lined up out wide with the Buckeyes, 87% of the time over his last three seasons, but he’s comfortable anywhere on the field. He can be seen motioning in and out of the slot, all the way across the formation, and occasionally orbit motioning into the backfield. Though he didn’t line up in the slot frequently, some of his biggest plays came from that alignment.
What’s NOT on Tape
Missed and broken tackles
Olave has some of the best hands in the draft class, but he rarely creates extra yards after he secures the catch. According to Pro Football Focus, he only forced two missed tackles during his senior season and broke just 10 tackles on 176 career receptions. He has the breakaway speed to run past defenders but hasn’t shown the strength or shiftiness to get past when they’re in the position to make a tackle.
Operating as the unquestioned best receiver on the field
He didn’t get on the field much his freshman season, playing behind Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, and K.J. Hill. After Campbell and McLaurin departed to the NFL, he was able to surpass Hill as a sophomore. By the time he was a junior, the younger Garrett Wilson had essentially pulled even with him. During Olave’s senior season, he was bypassed in receptions and receiving yards by both Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who you will be hearing a lot about next year around this time. Olave was never able to maintain the position of unquestioned WR1 on his own team.
2022 Fantasy Outlook
By most accounts, Olave will be selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft. That alone gives him the potential to be fantasy relevant from the get-go. He’s currently projected as the fourth wide receiver off the board around pick 22 by Grinding the Mocks. The team that recently acquired the 22nd pick in the draft just so happens to suddenly have a gaping void at the wide receiver position. If Olave goes to a team with a proven veteran quarterback and available targets, like the Green Bay Packers, for example, his fantasy value will skyrocket throughout the summer.
From a long-term dynasty outlook, Olave feels like a safe pick at the back end of the first round in rookie drafts. He may not have the ceiling of Drake London, Garrett Wilson, or Treylon Burks, but his well-rounded skill set and reliability arguably give him a higher fantasy floor. No matter how you look at it, Olave seems destined to be fantasy relevant for the foreseeable future.