As the roster stands right now, it’s no secret that the Las Vegas Raiders will consider drafting a wide receiver with their first-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. The Raiders need a speedster who can stretch the defense and Ohio State’s Chris Olave can do that and more.
WR | Ohio State | 6’1” 188 pounds (unofficial) | San Ysidro, CA | June 27th, 2000 (21.6)
Chris Olave came to Ohio State as a four-star recruit and the No. 34 wide receiver in the country for the 2018 class, per 247 Sports. He played in a reserve role as a true freshman before mixing in the starting lineup his sophomore year and becoming one of the Buckeyes’ top targets as a junior and senior. Lining up out wide and in the slot, he was primarily used on deep routes and accumulated 179 catches for 2,709 yards and 35 touchdowns in Columbus. The San Diego area native has the speed to threaten defenses deep and is a savvy route runner who can make an impact on all three levels of the field.
- Very good acceleration off the line of scrimmage to each up cornerbacks’ cushion against off coverage and forces them to open their hips quickly to turn and run versus soft press
- Against press coverage, he varies the speed of his release to keep defensive backs off balance and has active hands to get weaker defenders’ hands off of him
- On vertical routes, he attacks leverage and stacks the defensive back once he passes them, and he has the long speed to win deep
- Has a nice burst out of his cuts on posts to create separation down the field and has an impressive second gear on drag routes to break away from defensive backs
- When running curls, he keeps his shoulders down to help sell the go route and works back to the quarterback after the break
- He uses a nice head fake and rocker step to create some separation on digs and outs, and has solid change of direction using a speed cut
- Decent at recognizing and throttling in the windows against zone coverage
- On scramble drills, he’s shown improvement over the years on his spacing to give the quarterback three levels to throw to instead of running to the same area another receiver is already in
- When the ball is in the air, he tracks and adjusts to it well and has impressive body control to drag his feet and secure the catch near the sideline
- After the catch, he displays good vision, acceleration and contact balance to find lanes, get up the field quickly and stay upright through arm tackles
- He uses efficient angles when run blocking to position himself between the ball carrier and defender and create rushing lanes
Areas for Improvement:
- Against press coverage, he lacks some foot quickness to win with his feet and doesn’t have the play strength to avoid getting re-routed by stronger defensive backs
- He has a habit of fully extending to get hands off him in the five-yard window, making him susceptible to getting called for offensive pass interference
- Has some struggles catching balls above his head and when his vision is obscured, often bobbling or double catching those throws
- Doesn’t have the size and strength to box out defensive backs on back-shoulder throws or come down with contested catches
- After the catch, he lacks some wiggle to make defenders miss and goes down on the first contact
- When run blocking, he isn’t physical at the point of attack, has wide hand placement and isn’t strong enough to get a push against defensive backs
- 2020: Concussion (left 1 game early)
NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board rank: 22nd, 1st-round
Olave can walk into the majority of wide receiver rooms and serve as the deep threat and No. 2 option in year one. He has the speed to win deep, the change of direction and nuanced route running to create separation on intermediate routes, and is solid after the catch to make plays on slants. While he’d be best in an offense that uses a vertical passing attack, the Ohio State product can fit into just about any scheme and should be one of the first wide receivers off the board during the draft.
What do we need to know?
Can he continue to grow against press coverage? Olave showed improvement in beating press coverage over the years in college, but he still has some work to do if he’s going to beat physical NFL corners. Adding some strength and foot quickness will be key as he develops over the next few years.
Fit with the Raiders:
A lot of mock drafts have already sent the former Buckeye to Las Vegas and for good reason. He’d help fill the void Henry Ruggs left and is more than just a deep threat as a receiver. Also, the consensus ranking looks like Olave will be in range for the Raiders. The only question about his fit that I’d have is I’m not convinced he can be the “go-to guy” in the Red Zone the offense is looking for, but that shouldn’t be too much of a deterrent at this point.
Lots to like here from Chris Olave:— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 9, 2022
-Varies speed off the LOS and dips his shoulder to avoid contact in the 5-yard window
-Kicks it into a 2nd gear and forces the safety to play deep
-Sinks his hips, hits the breaks and turns on a dime for a 20-yard gainhttps://t.co/NacblMgIdn
Chris Olave showing some great route running & ability to make plays on scramble drills:— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 9, 2022
-Presses vertical off LOS
-Sees scramble, works outside
-Burst, balance & vision after the catch for a TD
A good example of Chris Olave’s burst off the line of scrimmage— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 9, 2022
Also like how he throttles in the window against zone here
Chris Olave does a great job of attacking leverage to give himself a 2-way go, then exploding out of the cut to create separation— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 9, 2022
At the catch point, he slows down to adjust to the throw & shows hands late so the CB can’t rip the ball out