2021 NFL Draft Player Preview: Chris Olave

  • Chris Olave, 6-1/188

  • Wide Receiver

  • Ohio State

  • Chris Olave 2020 Preview
    By Charlie Campbell

    Career Recap: The Buckeyes had other good receiving talent with more experience on their roster, but Olave was their most dynamic receiver playmaker during the 2019 season, totaling 849 yards and 12 touchdowns on 49 catches. He was a big-time point producer and looked like he was just getting started. It was a huge increase over his freshman year, when he caught 12 passes for 197 yards with three scores.

    2020 Season Outlook: There are a lot of weak Big Ten opponents on Ohio State’s revised schedule. Unfortunately, the game against Oregon was canceled, as it would have been great to see Olave take on Ducks safety Jevon Holland. Michigan State’s Shakur Brown, Michigan’s Vincent Gray and Penn State’s Tariq Castro-Fields are on NFL teams’ preseason watch list, so those could be the best games to judge Olave’s abilities.

    Skill-Set Summary: NFL teams are always looking for receiving weapons to move the chains and produce big plays given the passing-driven modern game. Thus there should be plenty of teams targeting Olave in the 2021 NFL Draft, assuming he skips his senior year. He showed a pro skill set as a sophomore and looks ready to play at the NFL level right now.

    Even though Olave was only in his first year of signifiant playing time in 2019, he was very polished, showing a well-rounded skill set with good technique. While Olave is not a burner like DeSean Jackson, Henry Ruggs or Will Fuller, Olave is fast and can run by defensive backs. He has the ability to challenge defenses over the top and is a threat to go vertical for a score on any reception.

    Along with being fast, Olave is a smooth route-runner who does not take extra steps and glides through the secondary with easy speed. With his route-running and quickness, Olave is constantly generating separation to get open for his quarterback. He shows good recognition and feel for defenders to find soft spots in the secondary. Olave is sure-handed and has superb body control along the sideline and the athleticism to adjust. The intelligence and polish shows up as Olave doesn’t quit on plays and is very good at breaking off routes to run to openings in order to help his scrambling quarterback.

    Olave has a thinner build and does not have mismatch height or length. It would help him to get a little stronger for the NFL, as long as he doesn’t lose speed by gaining more muscle mass to scrap with pro defensive backs. He also has a tendency to body catch some passes that he could attack with his hands.

    Olave looks like a future starter in the NFL with the versatility to be an outside receiver or line up in the slot. Early in his pro career, he could be a key contributor to a potent passing attack.

    2021 NFL Draft Expectations: Entering the 2020 season, Olave looks like an early-round prospect who could be riser over the course of 2020.


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