Saints trade up with Commanders to select Olave at No. 11

Posted: 29/04/2022 in NFL
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The New Orleans Saints selected Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, No. 11 overall.

The Saints, who entered the draft with two first-round picks, traded up for the 11th overall selection, sending a first-round pick (No. 16), a third-round selection (No. 98), and a fourth-rounder (No. 120) to the Washington Commanders, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.

New Orleans also drafted offensive tackle Trevor Penning at No. 19 overall. The team acquired an extra Round 1 choice this year in an eight-pick trade with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier in April.

Wide receiver was viewed as a major need for the Saints, who saw running back Alvin Kamara lead the club with just 47 receptions in 2021. Marquez Callaway was New Orleans’ top wideout last year after racking up 698 yards and six touchdowns on 46 catches.

Olave put on a show through four seasons at Ohio State, posting 175 catches, 2,702 yards, and 35 touchdowns.

With Olave, the Saints add an explosive pass-catcher to line up opposite Michael Thomas. Injuries have limited Thomas, the 2019 Offensive Player of the Year, to only seven regular-season appearances over the last two seasons. He didn’t play at all in 2021 due to an ankle ailment.

Scouting profile: Chris Olave

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Olave might be the most pro-ready receiver in this year’s class – sporting high-level route running, fluid athleticism, and the speed to make plays deep. His consistency could lull you into underestimating his accomplishments … which would be a mistake. The 21-year-old is a finesse player, not someone who will overpower press corners or take on linebackers in the middle of the field. He adds little after the catch and won’t do much damage as a run blocker. Instead, he’ll beat you with timing, precision, and acceleration on his way to the end zone (32 touchdowns over the last three seasons at Ohio State).

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