COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Chris Olave’s decision to stay at Ohio State in 2021 gave him the chance to move up from a late first-round or early second-round pick to being taken in the top 20 in this year’s NFL Draft, which starts Thursday.
His return to Columbus also gave him the opportunity to become one of the best receivers in Buckeyes history.
- #1 in career TD receptions (35)
- #3 in career receptions (176)
- #5 in career receiving yards (2,711)
- #2 in career 100-yard games (11)
- #3 in single-season TD receptions (13 in 2021)
When Olave gets the ball, he’s often open. Part of that has to do with play design — something OSU coach Ryan Day does well. But it also has to do with Olave’s ability to gain separation, which is really what separates him from the rest of the receiver field.
The way Olave runs a crisp route and gains separation is special, but what takes him to another level is what he does after the catch. Olave sees the field unlike any player in college football once the ball is in his hands. He has incredible spatial awareness meaning he knows what move to make and what path to take to get the most yards possible out of any given situation.
The most obvious thing Olave does well is make catches that shouldn’t be possible to catch. He has masterful footwork along the sidelines and his concentration and hand-eye coordination is second-to-none.
The knock on Olave
Chris Olave has heard it his whole life: He’s a tremendous talent who’s just a bit too undersized at 6’1″ 187 pounds. It’s the main reason he was only graded as a three-star prospect and buried as the 68th-best receiver for the class of 2018.
Several NFL teams, just like the college teams who passed on him, want a bigger receiver who can out-physical a cornerback at the line of scrimmage. Olave has a quiet strength about it, which combined with his speed (4.39 40-yard dash) and route running ability, makes him a no-brainer to be picked by any team who needs a receiver who can play right away.