With the 11th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints selected Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave. New Orleans had just gone through a difficult season, lacking weapons in the passing game, and wanted to ensure that they avoided repeating that.
Olave was a highly regarded prospect given his route-running acumen and elite speed. He was a track star in high school and that has translated to the football field, where defenses have to respect his ability to take the top off of the defense.
That has led to him producing at a very high level in his first season in the NFL. Olave was expected to be brought along slowly with veterans Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry leading the way. Alas, that plan changed once injuries piled up.
Thomas made it through only three games before his season ended because of injury, again. He has appeared in only 10 games in the last three seasons after ascending toward the top of the wide receiver rankings. Landry has appeared in only nine games, thrusting Olave into the No. 1 receiver role.
The former Buckeye responded in a big way, as he has produced from Day 1. On the season, Olave has 67 receptions for 982 yards and three touchdowns. He has caught at least three passes for 40+ yards in all 14 games that he has appeared in this season, which has put him on pace to rewrite the Saints’ record books.
Chris Olave is 155 yards away from breaking the franchise record for receiving yards by a rookie in a season, which is held by Thomas with 1,137 yards. If Olave can finish with at least 18 receiving yards, he will become only the third rookie in Saints’ history to reach the 1,000-yard plateau, joining Thomas and Marques Colston.
There is a real chance that Olave will break that record this weekend as he is facing off against the Carolina Panthers No. 30 ranked secondary. Chris Olave had a big game against them earlier this season, catching nine passes for 147 yards in their Week 3 matchup.