The New Orleans Saints look like they have a future star on their hands in wide receiver Chris Olave. They selected the Ohio State product with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and he has lived up to those expectations.
After a slow start in Week 1, when he was targeted only three times, catching all three for 41 yards. In the subsequent two weeks, Olave has become the go-to receiver for Jameis Winston.
Part of that was out of necessity as Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry both suffered injuries. But, he has made the most of the extra chances, as he was targeted 13 times in weeks 2 and 3.
Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second game of the season, Olave caught five passes for 80 yards. In Game 3, against the Carolina Panthers, he caught nine passes for 147 yards.
Despite being part of a very strong draft class of wide receivers, Olave has thus far played the best. According to PFF, Olave has recorded a grade of 85.6. He is the highest-graded rookie receiver through the first three weeks of the season.
His production has also been recognized by the league. Olave was named the Offensive Rookie of the Month in September on Thursday afternoon. He was joined by linebacker Devin Lloyd of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who took home the Defensive Rookie of the Month award.
The Saints trust Olave a lot despite him being a rookie. He is an integral part of their game plan and is making the most of his chances, evident by the award that he was given by the league. Olave is also on a record-setting pace for targets.
According to Nathan Jahnke of PFF, Chris Olave has been targeted 32 times this season; that is based on PFF’s target numbers, not the league’s, and includes plays that are eventually called by back penalties. That number represents the most targets for a rookie wide receiver through the first three weeks of the season in the last 15 years.
His Ohio State teammate and fellow rookie standout, Garrett Wilson of the New York Jets, is second on that list with 29, tied with Amari Cooper, Kelvin Benjamin and Kenbrell Thompkins.
If Olave is peppered with targets at this rate throughout the remainder of the season, he is going to be taking home a lot more hardware once it is all said and done.