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Analysis The Little Things: What Makes Chris Olave Special

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Credit: Michale C. Hebert - New Orleans Saints

By Dan Levy - Staff Writer -

New Orleans Saints wide receiver and first-round pick Chris Olave is a pretty striaght-forward evaluation. Fluid strider, burner speed. Silky-smooth route runner and some of the stickiest hands in college football. From the get-go, I had him rated as the most NFL-ready WR in the draft--the best pure WR in his class--and was hardly alone in my assessment. To me, he is a Torry Holt clone and has a realistic shot at Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl honors.

But outside of the widely rehashed evaluations, what is it that truly separates Chris Olave from the other WRs in his class? Well, that's a deep rabbit hole to go down. For a rookie, Olave's game is extremely refined, and as with any football player, it is the more granular, nuanced craftsmanship that cascades into the more basic. A guy who shows consistent excellence in his ability to release, stem, and stick... well, he's going to be a good route runner. The micro feeds into the macro.

What I am going to do is focus on three very specific aspects of Olave's game that elevate it from great to elite:
1) Late Hands
2) Efficient Feet
3) Scramble Awareness

Late Hands
By the end of his career, Randy Moss had cemented himself as one of the best WRs to ever play the game. And while a tremendous amount of focus was placed on his height, athleticism, and general physical prowess, it is telling that what Moss is most remembered for is his ability to win those 50/50 balls--so much so that the act of winning a contested catch is now commonly referred to as mossing.

Chris Olave does not possess the 6'4 height, the wiry length, or the freakish jumping ability of Randy Moss. But what he does have is the same late hands--that ability of a receiver to not show his intentions until the very last moment, thus shortening the DB's reaction time and putting him at a disadvantage.

By keeping his hands down until the very last moment, Olave does not provide an in-phase DB with visual cues to react to the ball, thus denying him the edge he needs to win--or at least prevent those contested catches.

Efficient Feet
By now you've heard a lot about Chris Olave's running style. His tremendous route running, how smooth he is in and out of his breaks.

But what does that mean on the field?

We're going to focus on the speed out. While it's a pretty basic part of...

Latest Saints News

NFL Notes: Darrell Williams to the Cardinals, Debo Jones on the trade block?

  • News source: Rene Nadeau
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 0
A player that the New Orleans Saints may have had on their radar has found a new NFL home.

Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams signed Tuesday with the Arizona Cardinals.

The 5-11, 224-pound product of LSU and John Ehret High School ran for 558 yards and sis touchdowns last season, adding 47 catches for 452 yards and a pair of scores. During his four-year stay with the Chiefs, the 27-year old tallied 1,674 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Williams is a well-rounded back who contributes as a runner, receiver and blocker. Also dependable, he has not fumbled in 191 touches. In...
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Saints Have Announced Two Roster Moves

  • News source: Tina Howell
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 35
The New Orleans Saints announced a couple of roster moves made earlier today. They have signed free agent TE Kahale Warring and waived rookie DB Jack Koerner.

Warring played at San Diego State and was drafted 86th overall by the Houston Texans in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He played seven games for the Texans in 2020, one game for the Buffalo Bills as well as one game for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021.

Koerner is an undrafted rookie from Iowa, who was signed by the Saints earlier this month.

Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us...
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Saints Announce Two Roster Moves for Tuesday, May 24

  • News source: Bob Rose
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 39
The New Orleans Saints have signed TE Kahale Warring on Tuesday afternoon, according to a team report. In a corresponding move, the team also released defensive back Jack Koerner. Warring, 25, finished last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Koerner is the third undrafted rookie to be released by the Saints since the draft. The others were offensive lineman Eric Wilson and LB Joel Dublanko.

A third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans out of San Diego State, Warring had 31 catches for 372 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2018 for the Aztecs. He spent his entire rookie year...
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Cameron Jordan says Matt Ryan trade hurts, already misses his favorite QB to sack

  • News source: Dylan Sanders
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 68
New Orleans Saints star defensive lineman Cameron Jordan has always made his feelings clear about the Atlanta Falcons and longtime franchise quarterback Matt Ryan. There isn’t a quarterback he’s enjoyed defeating more than Ryan, and Jordan has always embraced the Saints-Falcons rivalry. So it’s no surprise that Jordan wasted no time in sharing how he feels about Ryan leaving the division through a trade with the Indianapolis Colts earlier this offseason.

“He left me. I’m not even the girlfriend, I’m like the side piece,” Jordan bemoaned to the Baton Rouge Advocate. “He left. He didn’t...
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Saints HC Dennis Allen Set Up for Optimal Success

  • News source: Bob Rose
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 89
The NFL world and New Orleans sports community was blindsided in January when Saints head coach Sean Payton surprisingly retired after 16 seasons with the franchise. Payton brought unprecedented success to the Saints and arguably did his finest coaching job with an injury-ravaged squad in 2021.

Replacing the legendary coach is 49-year-old Dennis Allen, a defensive assistant of Payton's for 12 years.

This is Allen's second chance as a head coach. His first was with the Oakland Raiders, where he held an 8-28 record from 2012 to 2014 and was fired four games into 2014. He also took over...
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Realistic predictions for every Saints rookie draft pick in 2022

  • News source: Dylan Sanders
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 107
The New Orleans Saints drafted five players in the 2022 NFL draft. Obviously, when a player gets drafted you want them to have immediate success and become a starter in year one. What is important to realize is that every player’s journey is different and people need time to grow. With that being said, some teams need players to jump ahead of the curve and provide solid depth. The Saints are going to be one of those teams this year.

Luckily for each of the draft picks this year, there is a path to a starting role for all of them. Some paths harder than others, however. Not everyone needs...
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Which Saints players drew the most penalties in 2021?

  • News source: Ross Jackson
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 72
Penalties. An inevitable part of any NFL game, sometimes for better other times for worse. The New Orleans Saints have become a hot topic around yellow flags going back to the infamous “NOLA No-Call” to being the team with the largest disparity of penalty yards against versus being the beneficiary to calls.

In 2019 and 2020, the Saints ranked amongst the top-10 of most penalties accepted against. Last year that ranking came down as they committed only 98 infractions and came in at No. 21.

Of the 98 penalties called against New Orleans in 2021, false start (20), offensive holding (17) and...
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Peter King sees the Saints as a playoff team in 2022

  • News source: Dylan Sanders
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 122
During Peter King’s latest column for Pro Football Talk, he shares what seems to be rare optimism for the New Orleans Saints in the upcoming 2022 NFL season. He ranks the Saints as the sixth-best team in the NFC, ranking at No. 11 overall across the league. This would mean that he has the Saints making the playoffs, albeit as a wild-card team. Here is what King had to say about the Saints:

While he does mention that the Saints will likely miss Sean Payton, he does give credit to the fact that they have a much improved corps of offensive weapons to make things easier. Winston and...
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Saints WR Chris Olave lands top-10 in rookie dynasty rankings

  • News source: Ross Jackson
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 69
Fantasy football season is nearly here and for some, it’s already under way. With dynasty leagues continuing to pick up in popularity, rookie drafts are a huge focus for experienced players. Thus the rankings begin very quickly after rookies find their new homes.

Former NFL scout and fantasy football expert Matt Williamson ranked his top-40 rookies for dynasty leagues on the Peacock and Williamson NFL Show. And New Orleans Saints rookie wideout and top draft selection Chris Olave cracked his top ten.

Some immediate reaction to the ranking may be that the former Buckeye might be ranked...
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The New Orleans Saints preseason schedule is almost complete

  • News source: Ross Jackson
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 58
As offseason team activities get under way across the NFL, the preseason creeps closer as well. The New Orleans Saints are set to play two of their three exhibition matchups on the road. We now know when two of the three games will take place.

New Orleans will open the preseason at NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday, Aug. 3. The preseason opener will be an evening matchup with a 7 P.M. CT kickoff. This will be everyone’s first look at first-round rookies like Chris Olave and Trevor Penning and a lot of undrafted free agents’ first shot at making an impact and carving their way to the...
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Will Jameis Winston find redemption in 2022?

  • News source: Sterling Mclymont
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 81
Heading into the 2022 NFL season, it would appear that the New Orleans Saints have new life! After a highly successful NFL Draft, free agent acquisitions, and a returning powerhouse in Jameis Winston, the Saints are ready to create a new identity for themselves and return to the playoffs in 2023.

After suffering a season ending injury last season, Winston is ready to take the field again and will be doing so as QB1 for the New Orleans Saints. For a second, doubt began to creep around as it appeared that the Saints would search for the QB of the future elsewhere instead of going with the...
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Do the Saints have room for Odell Beckham Jr.?

  • News source: BrendenErtle
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 109
Yes, the New Orleans Saints have room for Odell Beckham Jr.

The Saints have completely remodeled their receiver room from last season. Marquez Callaway, Tre’Quan Smith, and Deonte Harty headlined the Saints’ top three receivers. They also had “contribution” from Kenny Stills, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Chris Hogan, Easop Winston, and Kevin White, as well as Ty Montgomery.

How would Odell Beckham Jr. fit in with this loaded receiver room? First off, Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry do a lot of things well and can be interchangeable every snap. Chris Olave will get his because of his diverse...
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The Jameis Winston Doubters Parallel the Drew Brees Doubters of 2006

  • News source: Kyle T. Mosley
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 102
Here's the truth. Drew Brees doubters and naysayers were just as passionate in 2006 as the ones who cast doubts about Jameis Winston today.

Most Saints fans, some media, and podcasters were too young to recall Drew Brees signing with the team, let alone the negative commentary hurled at the future Hall of Famer.

For most who have "thrown shade" at Winston, it's another example of "convenient amnesia."

Let's be honest, Drew Brees was shown the door in San Diego by a front office executive that the Mannings strategically maneuvered a No. 1 draft pick from the Chargers to swap with the...
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Michael Thomas at the Saints’ facility as OTAs open this week

  • News source: Michael David Smith
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 144
After being named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2019, Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas missed most of the 2020 season and all of the 2021 season, and there’s been talk that he and the team haven’t seen eye-to-eye on everything from his injury rehab to his attitude on the practice field. So any news at all of Thomas showing up for voluntary work would seem to be good news from the Saints.

And Thomas is at the Saints’ facility this week as they open voluntary Organized Team Activities, according to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football.

Whether Thomas will be participating...
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Fleur-de-Links, May 24: Restaurant backed by Drew Brees set to open near New Orleans

  • News source: Adam Dunnells
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 100
BreakingT have released a new t-shirt commemorating Tyrann Mathieu’s signing with the New Orleans Saints.

Chris Olave speaks with New Orleans media, saying that playing in the NFL is his life long dream and he loves the city of New Orleans.

Benedetto Vitale of Clutch Points predicts that Abram Smith will definitely make the Saints 2022 roster.

NFL analyst Chris Simms names Jameis Winston the #26 quarterback in the league.

Sports journalist Peter King named the Saints #11 in his 2022 NFL power rankings.

Though no official date has been announced for the opening of the location, a Small...
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6 Saints players who could take a huge leap in 2022

  • News source: Dylan Sanders
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 254
Expecting a player to come in and contribute as if he were a veteran can be very unfair to some players. While it does happen, it certainly isn’t the norm. Some players need time to adjust to the situation, the playbook, playing in the NFL, or one of the many reasons it can be very hard to last in the league.

There are a handful of players that certainly have to shown some improvements over the last few seasons to save their jobs. Most of them being from the 2020 draft class and now entering their third season in the pros. Here are six players we could see make a huge jump in 2022:
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