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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...

NFC South projected starters for the 2022 NFL season: Few holes for Bucs; Saints set up for success

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By Gregg Rosenthal | Around The NFL Editor |

With the 2022 NFL Draft and most of free agency in the rearview, Gregg Rosenthal will project starting lineups for all 32 teams because that's his idea of fun. Check out the NFC South breakdowns below.

... New Orleans Saints

Table inside Article
QBJameis WinstonDECameron Jordan
RBAlvin KamaraDTDavid Onyemata
WRMichael ThomasDTShy Tuttle
WRChris OlaveDEMarcus Davenport
WRJarvis LandryLBDemario Davis
TEAdam TrautmanLBPete Werner
LTTrevor PenningCBMarshon Lattimore
LGAndrus PeatCBC.J. Gardner-Johnson
CErik McCoyCBPaulson Adebo
RGCesar RuizSTyrann Mathieu
RTRyan RamczykSMarcus Maye

One of the first items on new coach Dennis Allen's agenda was to end the Taysom Hill experiment at quarterback. He's a reserve tight end now and the team is better off with backup Andy Dalton as the quarterback if Jameis Winston encounters any issues in his recovery from a torn ACL.

The only offseason loss to worry about beyond Sean Payton is left tackle Terron Armstead. It's a lot to ask Trevor Penning, a raw rookie from Northern Iowa, to take over on the blindside. Guard Cesar Ruiz's career is a reminder that not all first-round picks will thrive.

The line should still be good enough overall, especially in the running game. Backup running back Mark Ingram figures to remain active.

Marquez Callaway as a No. 1 receiving option on a playoff contender was wild. Callaway as a fourth option behind Michael Thomas, Chris Olave and Jarvis Landry makes a lot more sense. ...

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Latest Saints News

Jeff Duncan: How special were the 2019 LSU Tigers? Just check out the past 3 NFL drafts.

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It’s been two years and four months since the LSU Tigers won the 2019 College Football Playoff national championship game.

In some ways, it seems like yesterday.

In others, it feels like eons ago.

A lot has happened in the 28-month span since. A mass exodus of talented players and coaches in the 2020 offseason led to a precipitous fall from grace. The Tigers went from GOATs to also-rans seemingly overnight, and the sudden decline led to a change at the top, where Brian Kelly replaced Ed Orgeron as head coach in November.

But one thing hasn’t changed: Our appreciation for how special...
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Saints' interesting offseason has them in great shape: Doug Mouton joins ‘Dattitude,’ Ep. 73

  • News source: BY JIM DERRY | Sports betting writer
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 100
With all the moves the New Orleans Saints have made this offseason, we wonder aloud: “How can this team not be better than they were in 2021?”

While we realize there’s no Sean Payton, and it’s hard to determine how well Jameis Winston will play, but with the vastly improved receiving corps and maybe an even better defense, someone must be missing something. Maybe it’s us.

We talk about that with WWL-TV sports director Doug Mouton on Friday’s Dattitude (Ep. 73), as Jim laments the beginning of summer and the kids out of school. Meanwhile, teachers across the country rejoice.

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Mickey Loomis sees 'unique' response to Jarvis Landry, Tyrann Mathieu signings

  • News source: Ross Jackson
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 87
After signing two impact free agents, any team’s fan base would be excited. But for the New Orleans Saints, things were different after signing veterans Tyrann Mathieu and Jarvis Landry. More than landing a pair of key free agents at positions of need, both Landry and Mathieu return to New Orleans as hometown heroes.

Landry starred at Lutcher High School in nearby Metairie, while Mathieu was a multi-sport fixture at St. Augustine High School in the heart of New Orleans. They went on to briefly play together with the LSU Tigers, and now they’ll be wearing black and gold. It’s safe to say...
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Overreactions to Saints 2022 schedule

  • News source: Gregory Layfield
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The NFL has officially released the full schedule for the upcoming 2022 season. The New Orleans Saints front office and fans can now start planning travel and strategy for the season. Starting on September 11, the Saints will begin the 17-game season with divisional opponents. The season wraps up on the second weekend of January. The schedule brings many reactions as it always seems that the NFL makes the season as long as possible for the Saints. These are overreactions to the 2022 New Orleans Saints schedule.

In week four, the Saints are forced to lose a home game for the second season...
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Drew Brees could end up on the No. 2 team at Fox

  • News source: Mike Florio
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  • Views: 74
With Greg Olsen getting bumped from the No. 2 team to the No. 1 team at Fox while Fox awaits the arrival of Tom Brady as the $37.5-million-per-year top analyst, Fox has an opening on its second team.

As noted by Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, that spot could go to Drew Brees.

Brees, technically employed by NBC but (as Marchand reported on Sunday) not expected to return, wants to call games. There are no games for him to call at NBC. Fox, meanwhile, has an obvious opening.

“If Brees wants to have a big NFL broadcasting career, this is probably going to be his best — maybe last —...
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3 remaining free agents the Saints should sign

  • News source: LucasLoffredo
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  • Views: 240
With the Saints just under $10 million in cap space at the moment, I decided to give some insight on a few free agents that I believe could be the finishing touches on their quest for a Super Bowl run.

Without further ado, here are the three players...

Akiem Hicks is a player that I have been itching for the Saints to sign for awhile now. The former Saint has been one of the most disruptive interior defensive linemen in the league over the course of his career. The 6’5, 324-pound mauler of a man, would provide the Saints with a dominating force to reckon with in both the run game and...
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Fleur-de-Links, May 20: New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame quarterback celebrates 73rd birthday

  • News source: Adam Dunnells
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  • Views: 56
New Orleans Saints Vice President of Football Administration Khai Harley and Co-Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach Kris Richard will participate in the NFL’s first Coach and Front Office Accelerator on May 23rd and 24th.

Archie Manning celebrated his 73rd birthday.

Saints rookie defensive back Alontae Taylor speaks on his confidence in his role, saying that he enjoys being “the enemy” in matchups with wide receivers.

Miami Dolphins running back Sony Michel will wear #34 as an homage to former Saints running back Ricky Williams.

C.J. Gardner-Johnson, an avid streamer, has called for...
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Chargers at Saints preseason game scheduled for Saturday, August 27

  • News source: Justin Macione
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The New Orleans Saints 2022 preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers will take place on Saturday, August 27 at the Caesars Superdome with a 7:00 p.m. CT kickoff.

The Saints-Chargers contest can be viewed regionally in the Gulf South on the Gray Television network of stations, the club’s preseason partner for the entire three-game slate of exhibitions, available locally in the New Orleans area on FOX 8 WVUE.

The Saints and Chargers have met nine times in the preseason with New Orleans holding a 5-4 lead, having won the last four dating back to 2010, including a 19-17 won at the...
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Saints DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson calls for changes at Twitch after live-streamed Buffalo shooting

  • News source: BY AMIE JUST | Staff writer
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New Orleans Saints nickelback C.J. Gardner-Johnson is calling for change at Twitch, the streaming platform that a self-proclaimed white supremacist used to broadcast his attack on a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 people dead and injured three others Saturday.

The initial video of the man's rampage remained on Twitch — the broadcast service best known for live streams of video games — for less than two minutes after the suspect began shooting, according to a spokesperson for the company. However, the video of the attack remains online in various corners of the internet...
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Signing Odell Beckham Jr. is the exact sort of overkill the Saints should pursue

  • News source: Dylan Sanders
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  • Views: 159
The New Orleans Saints have nearly $10 million left in salary cap space this season, and they should spend that money wisely. But the best move may be an investment on yet another hometown reunion by bringing in Isidore Newman graduate Odell Beckham Jr. Would that be filling a need? Not really. But there is definitely something to add outside of what he would bring as a receiver.

He would have to come in understanding that he would be behind Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, and Jarvis Landry on the depth chart, and better-established receivers like Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harty, and Tre’Quan...
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Saints waive another undrafted rookie, former Penn State OL Eric Wilson

  • News source: Dylan Sanders
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 103
The New Orleans Saints have followed up the release of linebacker Joel Dublanko by letting go of another undrafted rookie, this time offensive lineman Eric Wilson out of Penn State. Not to be confused with free agent linebacker Eric Wilson who is new to the Saints, but is coming from the Houston Texans last season.

Like Dublanko, Wilson signed a typical three-year rookie deal with the Saints after he wasn’t selected during the 2022 NFL draft, which carried little to no guaranteed money. He participated in rookie minicamps recently and was competing with fellow first-year players Derek...
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Saints under the cap by $9.6M after signing Tyrann Mathieu, Jarvis Landry, and 2022 draft class

  • News source: Ross Jackson
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 111
Starting the offseason in the red by more than $70 million would concern most teams. But not the New Orleans Saints. After clearing more than $100 million in salary cap commitments for the second year in a row, the Saints have found key weapons on both sides of the ball and landed big additions in their 2022 draft class. Now, after signing all of those deals, they still sit under the cap with $9.6 million left to spend — Over the Cap’s records have New Orleans at $12.6 million in cap space, but that doesn’t reflect the small charge for Jarvis Landry.

The Saints’ newest free agent pickups...
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Three players the Saints might not trust in 2022

  • News source: mattmiguez
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 273
Rookie minicamp is underway.

Usually, by this point, the majority of the wild trades and insane free-agent signings have already happened, and the New Orleans Saints have been a big benefactor in that regard this offseason.

Acquiring Tyrann Mathieu and Jarvis Landry, not to mention drafting Chris Olave and Trevor Penning, has set New Orleans up to be a prime contender in a weaker than normal NFC.

We spent some time last week talking about a few players that the Saints showed they have ultimate trust in. Now, we’ll look at a few guys who might want to step their game up a notch this...
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Saints hope to keep high-end rotational play out of Kentavius Street

  • News source: Chris Dunnells
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  • Views: 169
While we anxiously await the start of the 2022 New Orleans Saints season, it feels like a good time to start previewing the new additions to the 2022 squad. What better source of insight for a player than the fans that covered that player’s former team?

We’ll start this series by looking at one of the newest Saints defensive linemen, Kentavius Street, formerly of the San Franscisco 49ers. Jordan Elliott of Niners Nation was kind enough to answer five quick questions to get a feel for what Street might bring to the Saints.

Kentavius Street played in 17 games for the 49ers with only two...
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Barnwell: Are McCaffrey, Henry, Kamara and Elliott done as star RBs? Let's project their 2022 seasons

  • News source: - New Orleans Saints
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  • Views: 182
Last season was difficult for the NFL's highest-paid running backs. Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb remained extremely effective when healthy, Austin Ekeler took over as a two-way force and Jonathan Taylor emerged as the league's best young back, but the players who expected to be elite weren't at that level.

Let's break down what happened in 2021 with four of the most prominent backs -- Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara and Ezekiel Elliott -- to get a sense of what they might do this season. Injuries played a role and could do so again, but in several cases, I found the stories...
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Saints Could Bolster RB Position With Free-Agent Darrel Williams

  • News source: Bob Rose
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  • Views: 165
The New Orleans Saints have signed two former LSU stars since the conclusion of the 2022 NFL Draft. Pro Bowl S Tyrann Mathieu and WR Jarvis Landry deepen two positions of strength for the team. A third LSU product, LB Kwon Alexander, could be brought back to the squad at the right price.

Alexander would bolster the depth of a rather thin linebacker unit. Another position that has a glaring lack of proven depth is at running back.

Yet another former hometown star is still on the free agent market and would check off one of the few remaining areas of need for the Saints.

The 27-year-old...
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