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College Football - Spotlighting Ohio State WR Chris Olave

Is Ohio State senior receiver Chris Olave the best receiver in the 2022 draft?

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 02 Ohio State at Rutgers Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning New York Giants fans!

Happy Saturday and welcome to Week 12 of the college football season. Things are starting to heat up in the college football world and the race for the playoffs is starting to take shape. We have a few games today that could wind up confirming the experts’ rankings — or throw the whole thing into complete chaos.

Joe DeLeone and I are also taking the opportunity to turn the spotlight on one of the top skill position players in the upcoming draft, Ohio State receiver Chris Olave.

Olave is regarded as one of the very best receiving prospects in the country, and we turned on the tape to see just what makes him so good.

Prospect Spotlight - Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State

Background

It was something of a surprise that Ohio State star receiver Chris Olave went back to school for his senior season instead of declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft. After all, he had back-to-back strong years as a sophomore and junior, finding the endzone 19 times in 20 games and averaging over 16 yards per catch. But Olave also would have been competing with the likes of Ja’Marr Chase, Devonte Smith, and Jalen Waddle to squeeze into the top tier of receiving prospects last year.

By returning to school on a strong note, Olave slotted himself in as one of the best receiving prospects in the 2022 draft right off the bat, or rather, opening kick-off.

Olave is a former three-sport athlete who ran track and played basketball as well as football in highschool, and those traits certainly show up on his film at Ohio State. He has both a track star’s long speed as well as a basketball player’s grace when running his routes

Olave might be the best route runner in college football, showing advanced and polished savvy from his release to the catch point. He does a fantastic job of varying his releases to disrupt defenders’ timing and disguise his intentions right from the start. Olave also uses exceptionally fine control of his tempo while running his stems to keep defenders off-balance. He is shows a veteran’s understanding of whether to slow down to draw them in before bursting quickly downfield or sprinting full speed to force them to turn their hips while he cut cutting back to the ball.

He isn’t a physically imposing player, measuring in at roughly 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, and while his 4.4 speed is good, it isn’t exceptional. Likewise, defenders can bully Olave as a blocker or in contested catch situations.

But despite all that, Olave is still one of the best receiving prospects in the coming draft. Watching him on the field calls to mind players like Amari Cooper, Justin Jefferson, Jerry Jeudy, or Cooper Kupp.

Strengths

  • Extremely subtle and savvy route runner
  • Shows a variety of releases
  • Fine control of route tempo
  • Understands coverage concepts
  • Crisp breaks at the top of routes to separate against man coverage
  • Finds voids in zone coverage
  • Surprising long speed
  • Reliable “hands” catcher
  • Adjusts well to the ball in the air
  • Able to make catches away from his frame
  • Versatility to play from X, Flanker, or Slot alignment
  • Understands angles and positioning in blocking

Weaknesses

  • Not a particularly physical player
  • Can get overpowered as a blocker
  • Can struggle in contested catch situations

Games to watch

Noon games

Afternoon games

  • (2) Alabama vs. (21) Arkansas - CBS (3:30pm)
  • (5) Cincinnati vs. SMU - ESPN (3:30pm)

Primetime game

  • (23) Utah vs. (3) Oregon - ABC (7:30pm)

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