NFL Draft

2022 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Ohio State WR Chris Olave

From now until the 2022 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents.

Today, I’ll be profiling one of the more pro-ready wide receivers in this draft class when it comes to polish as a technician. Had this wide receiver declared for the NFL Draft last year as a junior, he would have most likely found himself drafted in Rounds 1-2. His 2021 season has caused him to drop a bit in 2022 WR prospect rankings, but the coming clips will show what he will provide as a draft investment, and where I think he should slot in the overall WR ranks with the information we know as of right now.


Combine Invite.


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Chris Olave 6003/187 9 1/2 31 1/8 73 1/8
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
4.39 N/A N/A N/A
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
10’4″ 32 N/A



­— Good size, decent build
— 4.39 speed, great acceleration. Quick off the line. Knows how to vary his tempo to keep the DB guessing. Able to accelerate in an instant. Fluid mover
— Projects as a Z or slot receiver depending on personnel (slot in 3-WR sets to utilize his vertical prowess with spacing from the slot, but can play outside too – team preference)
— Silky-smooth, efficient route runner. Able to work all areas of the field. Compact and efficient footwork, gets his chest over his toes on tight breaks, fluid hips that sink well, great use of tempo, knows how to get in the DB’s blind spot. Proper amount of lean with balance in breaks is impressive
— Runs a variety of routes (expanded route tree): go’s, corners, posts, drags, slants, outs, digs, hitches/curls, comebacks, crossers, double moves, “now” screens, etc.
— Threat at all levels of the field (underneath, intermediate, and deep – he often capitalizes on the DB’s fear of being beaten vertically, allowing his savviness to shine in other portions of the field on top of his vertical effectiveness)
— Developed release packages. Has a variety of releases in his arsenal (examples): shimmy, skip/hop, arm pump, hesitation, speed (great accelerator), double moves. Elusive lateral quickness and short-area acceleration
— Tracks the ball extremely well. Instinctual hands catcher. Slows up for passes. Coordinated. Adequate catch radius
— Solid body control in the air and with the ball in his hands
— High IQ. Knows how to get open, even when the play breaks down. Knows the WR position, great feel. Lightning-quick snap anticipation/reaction. Great at finding and breaking off his routes in soft spots of zones
— Good to great RAC ability. Has confident hands to make grabs while gaining/without losing speed. Has some shiftiness/wiggle in open space and close quarters. Good open field vision
— Willing blocker who often accomplishes his assignment to the degree that is required (frame limits him on occasion – not a go-to play side blocker). Shows great effort
— Can contribute on special teams (blocked punts in 2018 and 2019), past return experience
— Fiery competitor: shows up on tape


— Disappeared for stretches of game time in 2021. Context of some of the games does make the reasoning behind his stat lines look a bit more favorable, and sat portions of games because of leads. Also, must recognize the firepower that Ohio State had on offense
— Often given a lot of free releases. Corners played off and employed a bail or backpedal technique on a lot of reps, resulting in easy, uncontested catches. Frequently schemed open. Due to his frame, aggressive press corners could give him trouble in the NFL – He will have to build some more muscle and focus on his releases (footwork and hand usage to beat jams/physicality)
— Plays with more finesse than physicality. Can be swallowed up/stuck to contact in his route stem. Was unable to secure some catches where the DB played him with tight coverage. Had some drops
— Can work to further his body usage for route breaks (shifting his weight violently, getting his arms and head a bit more involved – right now he is very smooth, but he can work to sell breaks even more aggressively when the situation calls for it)
— Can work on consistently winning in contested catch situations. Has great ball tracking ability on tape for 50-50 jump balls, but he needs to ensure he extends outside his frame then brings the ball to his body when the DB plays physical and gives a last chance effort to dislodge the football, and when he’s going to the ground and makes contact. Uses his body at times to catch passes when he doesn’t need to
— Taken down easily at times with the ball in his hands when he doesn’t have built up momentum. Not the most elusive athlete ever
— Could add some weight to his frame for the NFL level (would aid routes and blocking)


— 2021 Stats (12 games): 65 receptions, 936 yards, 13 touchdowns
— 2020 Stats (7 games): 50 receptions, 729 yards, 7 touchdowns
— 2019 Stats (14 games): 49 receptions, 849 yards, 12 touchdowns
— 2019-2021 Stats (33 games): 164 receptions, 2,514 yards, 32 touchdowns
— All-time leader in receiving touchdowns for Ohio State (35)
— 3.39 yards per route run in 2020 according to PFF, which was first for returning Power 5 outside WRs
— 4.2 Career YAC/Rec
— 14.7 Career ADOT
— 17.5 yards per catch in 2019, 14.6 yards per catch in 2020, 14.4 yards per catch in 2021
— AFCA first-team all-American, first-team all-Big Ten in 2021
— Three/Four-star recruit out of high school
— Three-sport athlete in high school. Also played basketball and ran track
— 21 years old – born June 27, 2000


Like my last report on Jahan Dotson, Chris Olave is a wide receiver I wrote about for Steelers Depot’s Summer Scouting Series. At the time, I viewed Olave as capable of seizing the opportunity to solidify himself as WR1 for this draft class if he were to produce a superb 2021, final collegiate season. Olave went on to produce a great season, but he was somewhat overshadowed by fellow Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson (sidenote: Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a future WR prospect to pay especially close attention to because he held his own and shined alongside both Wilson and Olave as an underclassman), and he also didn’t reach the heights of some other 2022 WR draft prospects around the NCAA. Consequently, Olave has dropped a bit in my personal rankings. However, I still view him as being one of the more NFL-ready technicians for the wide receiver position. Due to this, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have one of the best rookie seasons for this draft class, considering there’s a good possibility a playoff contender will look to add him to their WR room late in the first round.

Olave’s expertise is winning deep. Recently, at the 2022 NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis, he was reported as running a 4.26 unofficial 40-yard dash. I was joyfully shocked, as such a time would suffice the “oh-shit” speed description that the great Dave Bryan has been preaching the Steelers search for–and acquire–this offseason. His official time was actually a 4.39, but being under 4.4 (albeit just barely) is still a win for Olave when understanding that his polish as a technician is what makes him so NFL-ready, and thus appealing as a prospect. If you’re looking for a wide receiver to come in and take the top off the defense with a mostly unmatched (for this draft class) fusion of speed and technique as a wide receiver, look no further than Chris Olave. As I said in my report last summer, Chris Olave isn’t a physical specimen that will outmuscle any and every DB, but he will figure out how to get by them (at all levels). Now onto the clips.


Like my last article, let’s start with some plays I noted that didn’t result in completed plays.

First, from his game against Minnesota, Olave is field side and draws a penalty deep–in front of the end zone. Here, Olave manipulates the DB’s leverage with a sort of zig-zag stem outside, then inside, then back outside again. This allows him the opportunity to build up momentum on the defender, then he eventually attempts to stack him. The DB tugs him to prevent the stack, which draws a penalty flag.

Next, in the second clip Olave is field side again, this time against Oregon. At the snap, he gets-off straight, slightly shifting his weight to indicate an outside intent, which draws the DB that way just enough for Olave to plant and launch past the DB–swiping the DB’s hands away as he does so. Knowing he now has an opening with forward progress, Olave puts his head down and zooms vertically toward the post, stacking the DB in the process. Unfortunately, his QB overthrows him.

Third clip now. This clip comes from Ohio State vs. Tulsa. It is a game in which Chris Olave did not record a reception. There were times in this game when he should’ve come down with some though (which he didn’t either because Ohio State didn’t capitalize, or he didn’t capitalize), and this clip being a prime example. Olave is in the slot field side. At the snap he rockets off the line into track sprinter form. With so much open space to work with because of the defense respecting his deep capabilities, Olave runs through the MOF into a deep over route, getting behind the back end. His QB sails a throw that doesn’t hit the pinpoint mark however, another incompletion.


Moving on, this set of clips gives a great showing of Olave’s body control and ball tracking ability to position himself in tandem with his control and awareness.

The first clip in the set is vs. Maryland. Olave is on the line in the slot. He gives a lightning-quick slide-hop jab release to win an inside stem, making the DB open the gate to chase. Along his path to reach the end zone on a mix between a post and deep over route, he is tugged and then interfered with as the ball comes sailing in, yet he still secures the football after turning and making contact with it, then juggling it and finally bear-hugging it.

The second clip is from his game against Michigan State. Olave is at the bottom of the screen. The over-the-shoulder ability to position himself for the drifting throw here is insanely magnificent. He clamps the ball with strong hands, and on top of that has the wherewithal to drive his right foot into the ground before stepping out of bounds.


Here are some clips illustrating Olave’s savviness to create separation in scoring position.

First, the clip from the Indiana game depicts an outstanding release from Olave (top of the screen field side). He gives a slight slide release which makes the DB expose himself vertically. Olave sees the point of attack and bursts right by the defender, then he glides to the back of the end zone and hops to secure the TD pass. Truly an effortless rep for Olave.

Second is another astounding rep from Olave (bottom of the screen field side), this time from his game vs. Nebraska. He jogs off the line into a stutter step after getting on the toes of the DB lined up in front of him. Then, he fades into a standard fade route. The DB likely felt as though he was in good shape at that point, but Olave then further snaps off his route so smoothly into an out-route while the DB eyes the QB. Now with ample separation, Olave receives a throw and traps it with both feet inbounds for the score.


This set of clips shows Olave running out-breaking routes.

First is from the Oregon matchup. Olave is at the top of the screen field side. His defender is in off coverage, so Olave has free room to work with to the first down marker. His break is clean, as he breaks his route off and turns square toward the sideline without losing agility. To catch the target, he extends away from his frame and plucks the ball out in front of him, then he gets both feet down inbounds while securing the football.

Second is another clip from the Oregon game. Olave is on the line at the top of the screen field side. He stems his route on a vertical path toward the DB. This allows him to mask his intentions for his break, and also serves to make the break a shorter distance toward the sideline so that the DB will not have more time to react and break on it himself. Like the first clip, Olave does a great job of extending outside of his frame with confident hands and synced up feet to catch the pass while he plants both feet inbounds, before stepping out. With DBs terrified of being beaten deep by Olave, this type of QB ball placement and WR feel is difficult to even contest, let alone defend.

Third is a clip from the Nebraska game. Olave is at the bottom of the screen field side. The DB lined up with a wide outside shade in front of him immediately bails into a half-turn. Notice how Olave again stems his route path at the defender while closing the space between them. He does this because it makes it that much harder for the DB to anticipate and react to his out-break, especially due to the way the DB plays it in the half-turn. Olave isn’t necessarily in a full-on blind spot, but he does put the DB in an uncomfortable position both vision and plan wise, resulting in the amount of space that Olave creates on his break. Olave set it up perfectly.


This clip is a nice RAC rep. Olave finds himself in a ton of open space as he rounds toward the sideline. Then, after catching the freebie, he utilizes his vision, awareness, and acceleration to take the pigskin to the house for six.


Here’s another nice RAC rep from Olave (out wide field side), and his feel/IQ for the position paved the way. After running his initial in-breaking route, he turns to see his QB in trouble in a scramble drill. Olave’s intelligence sends him into action, so he runs a bit of an impromptu pivot route that positions himself away from defenders and toward the sideline (uncovers toward open space). He caps the play off with some quicks, evasiveness, and balance, followed by a good cut to then jog his way into the end zone.


This clip is one I felt must be included in this article, because the article would be incomplete without it. Olave’s competitive mindset is exhibited in this clip. He shows what it means to be a team player, as he leads explosive underclassmen WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba down the left side of the field, getting hands on defenders along the way in order to ensure they cannot reach JS-N. Great hustle and unselfish mindset conveyed from Olave here, this is definitely a play that NFL teams will make note of for Olave’s gamesmanship. Every NFL franchise wants competitors and teammates like this.


Finally, this last set of clips is a mix of both the “good” and “bad”.

The first few are Olave working the sideline in contested situations.

#1 is from the Oregon game. Pre-snap, the DB lined up on Olave (bottom of the screen boundary side) has outside leverage. Olave shows hesitation before taking a speed release post-snap (awesome use of tempo). He ends up a slight bit out in front of the DB as they race down the sideline, so QB C.J. Stroud (who impressed me on tape overall considering his year and room for further growth) places a ball with great touch over the back shoulder of the DB. Olave again illustrates his tracking ability as he reaches out to underhand snatch the pass away from his frame, then bringing it into his body before going to ground.

#2 is vs. Rutgers. Olave skies to high point the throw and then he makes his left leg “go dead” to position himself in bounds for a completed catch, despite being yanked down violently.

#3 is very similar to #1. It’s from Ohio State’s big loss to Michigan. Olave is at the bottom of the screen field side. He curves into a speed release up the sideline. QB Stroud arcs him a pass, and Olave jumps up and over the DB to catch it on top of his head.

Now to the bad. The fourth clip shows Olave’s inconsistency in contested catch situation. Even in the good, I believe Olave can improve his technique and play strength to achieve consistency in this area. In this fourth clip from Ohio State against Indiana, Olave attempts to underhand scoop the pass into his chest, but the defender gets his arm/hand in at the catch point to break it up. This rep can’t be blamed on Olave, because he did run a good stutter-go route to get open, and the ball was underthrown as well as being wet due to the rain, but he could have tried to attack the football away from his frame, extending with a diamond-shaped hand grip (the trajectory of the pass resulted in him attempting the catch with his palms up).

The other main “bad” that I want to quickly touch upon is Olave’s play strength in his route stems. I discussed this for the Summer Scouting Series article, and it’s something I saw a little bit in 2021 when corners played Olave more aggressively and up closer (he has shown the ability to beat press with his releases, but his play strength is something that should be enhanced to match up with NFL competition – i.e. build bulk, develop hand usage, increase contact balance).

The last clip from the Minnesota game (fifth in this set) depicts Olave (bottom of the screen field side) getting stuck on a DB in his route stem. As we can see from the end result of his route, he is looking to break inside on a dig/stick route after an inside vertical stem, but the DB swallows him up and stays attached to him. QB C.J. Stroud wasn’t reading his side of the field after selling the handoff, so Olave not being directly involved in Stroud’s initial read can be noted in context, but still a rep worth mentioning as it something seen a few times in Olave’s tape.


I have Olave with a slightly better grade than what I gave Jahan Dotson (not by much), who was my last wide receiver profile published for the site. If Olave were to go late day one, then that would likely mean that Treylon Burks (his combine was a bit underwhelming), Drake London (coming off an ankle fracture), and Garrett Wilson were already selected (I have yet to determine who is higher in my ranks between Olave and Jameson Williams – especially considering Williams is coming off an ACL tear).

I don’t view the gap between my current “top” guys and Olave/Dotson being insurmountable, but I view Burks, Wilson, and London as having the best odds to be round one locks (at this point in time of course – there is much more of the process still ahead) because of their dominant alpha-potential ceilings (Burks and London have elite ceilings – London the lowest floor IMHO – Wilson’s floor is higher/safer than both IMHO while still offering an intriguing ceiling due to his combination of both all-around athletic profile and polish – I see some OBJ in Wilson’s forceful athleticism). This class has been such a treat to study because even some of the lesser-known guys have the potential to surpass some of the more well-known prospects with their NFL career arcs.

This class has a massive amount of potential and I cannot wait to continue combing through the tape to eventually finalize my rankings closer to draft day. As we recently saw from the 2022 NFL Combine, these guys have wheels. On top of that, these are legit wide receivers with a knack for the position, not just completely raw athletes.

While I don’t think of them as being the most accurate of comps ever, I see a bit of CeeDee Lamb and Robert Woods in areas of Olave’s game. Olave possesses superior straight-line speed in comparison to both Lamb and Woods, but the two above-average NFL contributors provide more in certain regards such as RAC (Lamb) and physicality (Woods) than Olave.

If by chance Olave does not end up selected in Round 1, and even more unlikely he winds up available in the backend of Round 2, the Steelers could be able to address a greater position of need in R1, while also receiving a lottery ticket of outstanding value falling into their lap with Olave in R2. If that materializes into a realistic option, it would be difficult for the Steelers to pass on that type of value. I doubt the Steelers would look to draft Olave Round 1 at pick #20 (depending on best player available of course), but the aforementioned scenario is persuasive.

Projection: Late Day One

Depot Draft Grade: 8.6 – Year 1 Quality Starter (1st Round)

Games Watched: @ Minnesota (2021), vs. Oregon (2021), vs. Tulsa (2021), @ Rutgers (2021), vs. Maryland (2021), @ Indiana (2021), vs. Penn State (2021), @ Nebraska (2021), vs. Purdue (2021), vs. Michigan State (2021), @ Michigan (2021)

Previous 2022 NFL Draft Player Profiles
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OT Daniel Faalele LB Devin Lloyd OG Zion Johnson LB Nate Landman
DL Devonte Wyatt WR Charleston Lambo OL Luke Fortner QB Matt Corral
WR Jalen Tolbert DL Eyioma Uwazurike OT Charles Cross DL Travis Jones
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CB Ahmad Gardner LB Christian Harris CB Kalon Barnes LB Aaron Hansford
OG Ed Ingram OL Cade Mays DL Matthew Butler TE Charlie Kolar
WR Alec Pierce  DL Perrion Winfrey CB Coby Bryant OT Ikem Ekwonu
LB Leo Chenal WR John Metchie III LB JoJo Domann OT Abraham Lucas
WR Skyy Moore OT Rasheed Walker DB Daxton Hill CB Kaiir Elam
RB Leddie Brown WR Jahan Dotson RB Dameon Pierce S Kyle Hamilton
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OL Darian Kinnard OL Tyrese Robinson S Jaquan Brisker WR David Bell
DL John Ridgeway
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