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2022 NFL draft scouting report: Ohio State WR Chris Olave

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Ohio State WR Chris Olave

6-foot
187 pounds

Yahoo Sports' 2022 NFL draft grade

6.30 — possible first-rounder; possible immediate starter

TL;DR scouting report

Smooth operator who can stress safeties and generate instant offense, even if his play strength, YAC ability are not special

The skinny

A 3-star Rivals recruit in the Class of 2018, Olave picked the Buckeyes over UCLA and Utah, among other schools. He caught 12 passes for 197 yards and three scores, plus one blocked punt, in 2018 as a freshman. In 2019, Olave started five of the final six games and caught 49 passes for 849 yards and 12 TDs. He started seven games in 2020, catching 50 passes for 729 yards and seven scores and opted to return to school for his final season. Olave caught 65 passes for 936 yards and 13 TDs, turning down a Senior Bowl invitation following the season.

Ohio State WR Chris Olave has authored some spectacular catches for the Buckeyes. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Ohio State WR Chris Olave has authored some spectacular catches for the Buckeyes. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Upside

  • Possesses great vertical speed (4.39-second 40)

  • Revs up to top gear quickly — 10-yard split time of 1.45 seconds

  • Good broad-jump number at NFL combine (10-foot-4)

  • Shifty in his releases off the line — jab steps and bobs to make harder target

  • Smooth, fluid route running with very little segmenting or downshifting in his cuts

  • Subtle route craftsman with little wasted movement

  • Vertical glider who can coast to top speed

  • Commands deep-safety attention

  • Uses head bob to get corners to bite on underneath route

  • Very good body control too contort body, win in air, adjust to off-target throws

  • Perfect back-shoulder throw target

  • Operates with good sideline awareness, getting feet down cleanly

  • Finds soft spots in zones pretty nicely

  • Made surprising number of catches in traffic

  • Mature — four years of high level football vs. top competition

  • Accountable — took blame for game-ending Justin Fields INT in 2020 college playoffs

  • Good intangibles — finalist for Senior CLASS Award, given for excellence on and off the field

  • Scored touchdowns in eight straight games, nine out of 11 in 2021

  • Consistently productive — 40-plus yards receiving in 30 of 38 career games

  • Clutch blocked punts in 2018, 2019 led to TD, safety

  • Could be tried as NFL gunner

Downside

  • Naturally lean build — not likely to be able to add much more muscle readily

  • Lacks strength to play through contact

  • More of a WR2 than a true lead dog

  • Lacks a true superpower — very good speed but not truly elite

  • Goes down too easily — not a tackle breaker at all

  • Not a huge YAC threat — averaged only 4.1 yards after the catch in 2021

  • Physical CBs can stress him — can be bumped off his mark downfield

  • Won't be a contested-catch performer

  • Lacks true elusiveness with the ball in his hands, other than straight-line speed

  • Can do a better job coming back for the football

  • Might have hurt draft standing by coming back for final season

  • Drops tended to come over the middle — will hear footsteps

  • Adds nothing to speak of as run blocker

  • Barely used as kick/punt returner or as a runner

Best-suited destination

Ideally, Olave would be the Robin to a Batman "X" receiver in an NFL offense, helping draw safety attention, taking the tops off of defenses and offering consistent yards on short stuff where he can get a runway and go. He's never going to be a physical receiver, but his value is eminently clear. Among the teams that could be interested in Olave's services include the Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Las Vegas Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers.

Did you know

Olave was a three-sport athlete in high school who also excelled in basketball and track, running a 10.8 100-meter dash and long jumping 23-foot-6.

Player comp

A surer-handed, more well-rounded Will Fuller

Expected draft range

First round