2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Ohio State WR Chris Olave

Brian Lamb
Brian Lamb is the owner of NFL Draft Lounge and has covered the NFL Draft since 2011. Brian is also the owner of the Infinity Sports Network, which NFL Draft Lounge belongs to.

Last season, Ohio State was one of the top programs in College Football. Quarterback Justin Fields, who is now the starter for the Chicago Bears, led the team to a 7-1 record, losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff. A large part of their success last year was due to Chris Olave, one of the team’s star wide receivers. This season, Chris Olave has continued to remain an integral part of the Ohio State offense, leading him to be considered one of the top wide receivers in the country. In this scouting report, we breakdown Chris Olave and predict his future from an NFL Draft pick to a wide receiver in the NFL.

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Chris Olave 40 Time

Chris Olave is currently predicted to run in the 4.4 range at the NFL Combine. On film, Olave doesn’t pop as an explosive wide receiver. Despite this, there are flashes of his speed on film. However, I had to go back to much of his 2020 film to find it. The Ohio State offense has operated much different without Justin Fields at quarterback. Per this work from Football Perspective, the NFL average from 2000-2017 for wide receivers is 4.51. If Chris Olave does in fact post a 40 time in the 4.4 range, he would be slightly above the league average.

 

Chris Olave Injury History

Last season, much like the rest of college football, the Ohio State Buckeyes were impacted by COVID-19. Chris Olave, along with 21 others, missed the Big Ten Championship game against Northwestern. No details were disclosed, but it was assumed that it was related to a positive test or contact tracing. In addition to this, Olave exited the 2020 game against Nebraska early for an apparent head injury, although he did return the following week against Penn State.

NFL Scouts will find that Chris Olave hasn’t missed any significant time, which should result in a clean medical record at the upcoming NFL Combine.

 

Chris Olave Scouting Report

Pros
  • Extremely Wide Catch Radius
  • Very Good Ability To Adjust Body And Make Difficult Catches
  • Intelligent Player That Excels In Finding Gaps Versus Zone Coverage
Cons
  • Inconsistent Blocking Ability
  • Struggles To Create Separation At Line Of Scrimmage When Facing Press Coverage
  • Below Average Route Running In 2021

Chris Olave is, in fact, one of the top wide receivers in the 2022 NFL Draft. He is one of the smartest receivers in this class that reads the defense quickly. Olave does a great job of finding gaps in zone coverage, giving his quarterback enough space to make a safe throw. Even when defenders are closing in, he does a great job of securing the catch and doesn’t appear to hear the footsteps. Once the ball is snapped, Chris Olave does a good job of creating space at the line of scrimmage.

Additionally, his footwork and lateral agility are enough to provide a step or two of separation for a quarterback to make a throw over the top of the defender. Olave’s catch radius is elite as he’s able to make catches above defenders, down low, or even behind his body. As mentioned above, Olave is predicted to run a 4.4 range 40 time, which should be enough of a second gear in the NFL.

On the other side, Chris Olave is an inconsistent blocker out in space. I’d like to see him play more consistently in this aspect. Some of his routes this season lack crispness, resulting in a lack of separation at the top of the route. Despite this, his other traits make up for this, allowing him to win the rep. While Olave has success at creating space at the line of scrimmage, he struggles to do so versus press coverage.

 

Chris Olave NFL Draft Prediction

It’s likely that Chris Olave will be drafted in this first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. However, it’s still possible that he could slip to the first third of the second round. Olave is capable of playing various wide receiver positions at the next level. Despite this, he’ll need to become a more consistent blocker to remain impactful long-term.

He has some of the best hands in the country at wide receiver, which will serve him well in the NFL. His catch radius is at an elite level in College Football, but will also be very special on Sundays, too. Chris Olave does a fantastic job of making catches outside the numbers, so an NFL franchise could look to play him in a similar role.

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