This happens every year. We have a talented underclassman we’re all but certain is entering the NFL draft…until they don’t. Last year it was Travis Etienne. This year, it’s a talented Big 10 wide receiver. Earlier this week, we got news of Chris Olave returning to Ohio State for his senior year. This news sent shockwaves through the fantasy community as he was one of the top wide receivers set to head to the NFL. His decision will move around a lot of people’s big boards and adds a big name to the 2022 NFL draft class. Let’s take a look at Olave’s career with the Buckeyes so far.
Having Dwayne Haskins as his quarterback in 2018, Olave only had 12 receptions but when you factor in the Buckeyes had Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, and KJ Hill, one could see why he did not get much playing time as a true freshman. The next two seasons he had Georgia transfer Justin Fields as his quarterback and he led the Buckeyes in receiving yards and TD’s in both 2019 and 2020.
Some surprising stats I found with Olave is he only has three career rushes at this point, which for a WR with his speed is rare. He also never had a 1,000 yard receiving season nor did he ever lead the nation in receiving stats. He was named First Team Big 10 this year, but was never named an All-American. Does any of this matter? Nope, not a single bit. It’s just surprising considering how good he has looked on the field yet these factors will be what some analysts bring up when making their draft grades. So make sure you can sift through the BS.
What does this mean for the 2021 NFL Draft?
Really, losing Olave in this draft class doesn’t hurt all that much. This wide receiver class is freakin’ stacked! Look at who is coming out this year and start salivating:
Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, Jaylen Waddle, Terrace Marshall Jr., Rashod Bateman, Kadarius Toney, Rondale Moore, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Dyami Brown, Tylan Wallace, Tamorrian Terry, and Seth Williams
Related: 2021 Rookie Rankings
So, what does this mean for the 2022 NFL Draft?
Way more! As of now, there are only five “big name” wide receivers: fellow Buckeye Garrett Wilson, Georgia’s George Pickens, Purdue’s David Bell, and Clemson’s Joseph Ngata and Justyn Ross. There are some more guys in the mix but for the most part, Olave now bolts himself towards the top of that list. We saw what coming back for his senior season did for Alabama’s DeVonta Smith, but the big question mark will be if projected OSU quarterback CJ Stroud, the nation’s second-ranked Pro-Style quarterback per 247Sports, will be able to get him the ball. Looking at a WAY-TOO-EARLY OSU depth chart for next season, I think this offense is just as dangerous as anyone out there, especially considering they are adding Olave back in.
OSU 2021 Projected Offensive Starters:
QB: C.J. Stroud
RB: Master Teague
WR1: Chris Olave
WR2: Garrett Wilson/Julian Fleming
WR3: Jaxon Smith-Njigba
TE: Jeremy Ruckert
Returning for his senior season will allow Olave to refine some of the traits that NFL scouts have said he may be lacking. He is not a run-after-the-catch threat, and he does not have the wheels that some of the other wide receivers in the class have. He is a great route runner and has solid hands to include zero fumbles in his OSU career. He has an opportunity to get better and if he can do some speed training to get his 40-yard dash to the 4.4’s, then I think he has a chance to be one of the top wide receivers taken off the board in 2022.
I am currently slotting Olave in as the 2022 WR3 behind George Pickens and Garrett Wilson. There is still a lot of football to play but I think this was the right move for Olave. I know the fans in Columbus are certainly happy. So if you are a devy player and he somehow has slipped through the cracks, it’s time to acquire him quickly!
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