The Saints were frequently paired with Chris Olave in numerous pre-draft mocks, and that marriage came to fruition on Thursday night when New Orleans traded up to draft the Ohio State product with the 11th overall pick. Olave will team up with Michael Thomas to form a solid wide receiver duo — a welcome change from last year’s Saints squad which didn’t have many pass-catching weapons outside of Alvin Kamara. Let’s take a look at how the Olave selection affected ETR’s projections.
Projection: 58.2 catches on 99.8 targets for 774.3 yards and 4.6 touchdowns. WR48 on Underdog (100th overall).
- Olave should immediately assume WR2 duties for the Saints considering their other options are Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith. We have Olave at an 18.0% target share, which sets him up to flirt with triple-digit targets as a rookie.
- Anthony Amico pointed out in Olave’s prospect profile that his ceiling may be more limited than other highly-drafted wideouts because he stayed all four years in college. Moreover, Olave was outperformed by 10th overall pick Garrett Wilson in their final season with the Buckeyes. Wilson is only one month younger than Olave, but the latter was a four-year player, whereas Wilson was an early declare. Because of that, Olave didn’t fare as well in Amico’s model as some of the other first-round wideouts. Still, the Saints clearly felt strongly enough about him as a talent to trade up to draft him 11th overall, but it’s something to keep in mind as we evaluate all of these prospects. We did give Olave slightly less upside than some of the other wideouts selected on Thursday.
- All signs point toward Olave being a Day 1 contributor, and he looks like a solid fourth or fifth wide receiver in best ball drafts right out of the gate.
OTHER SAINTS PLAYERS
- Notably, we changed some of the Saints’ team-level numbers after this pick. With Thomas back for 2022 and the decision to draft a wide receiver 11th overall, New Orleans may move away somewhat from the incredibly run-heavy attack they employed last season. That doesn’t mean they’re going to start airing it out all the time, but they were extremely dedicated to establishing the run last year, and that may not be the case anymore now that they have a serviceable receiving corps. Jameis Winston could be an interesting option near the end of drafts.
- Callaway and Smith were docked heavily and now look like nothing more than end-of-draft dart throws, if that. Thomas, Olave, and Alvin Kamara (legal issues pending) look like the clear top three options in the Saints’ passing attack. Thomas is the top dog, but Olave should be able to carve out a solid role behind him. Outside of those two, there’s not much to like about the New Orleans wide receiver depth chart.