One of the worst-kept secrets in the NFL right now is that the Las Vegas Raiders are looking for speed on the outside this offseason.
Between the Henry Ruggs III tragedy and Al Davis’ affinity for lightning-fast wide receivers, everyone that pays attention to the NFL knows the Raiders are in the market for the next Cliff Branch. Whether the organization finds said player via the draft or free agency — which kicks officially kicks off on March 16th — is still up in the air, but several wideouts made a strong case to be the 22nd overall pick on April 28th at the NFL Combine this week.
Ohio State’s Chris Olave was one of those standout receivers as he turned heads on Thursday night with an unofficial 4.26-second 40-yard dash time.
4.26u, holy moly.@OhioStateFB WR @chrisolave_ with a jaw-dropping 40.— NFL (@NFL) March 4, 2022
: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/xKZxr9Cd78
Granted, that time proved to be very unofficial as Olave’s officially clocked in at 4.39 seconds. While a 0.13-second difference is significant, a sub-4.4 time is still plenty fast. Now the question is will he still be available in the back end of Round 1?
That’s certainly going to be a hot topic of debate in the coming weeks leading up to the draft.
The former Buckeye has already been tied to the Silver and Black in several mock drafts from some well-respected analysts, and, in my opinion, his 40 time shouldn’t change that too much. Anyone who watched him play in Columbus already knew he could fly, so Thursday night just confirmed what we already knew.
Olave was asked about playing for the Raiders in Indianapolis and, in a quote recently published by The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, the wideout reportedly lit up and responded with:
“My oldest brother is a huge fan of the Raiders. I’d love to go there. They moved to Las Vegas recently, and they have a great organization, and I would love to go there and play for them.”
Obviously, it’s not up to him where he’ll play next year, but it’s certainly encouraging to see that he’d welcome a move to Sin City.
In other Raiders links:
- Derek Carr drawing trade interest: I’d be surprised to see anything come of this, but it does sound like Dave Ziegler will have options if contract extension conversations with the quarterback go south, per The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vinny Bonsignore.
- Potential DE/DT hybrid in the first round?: Georgia’s Travon Walker is an interesting defensive line prospect that would be a good fit for new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s philosophy of using multiple fronts.
- Former Raider could hit the open market: per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Cowboys are expected to either trade or cut Amari Cooper, and a trade could be difficult given his large contract.
- Andrew Booth scouting report: another Clemson player who could step in and start right away for the Raiders.