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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...

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

Saints should consider free agent RB Darrel Williams

  • News source: BrendenErtle
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 14
The New Orleans Saints recently lost out on running back Sony Michel after he decided to sign with the Miami Dolphins after visiting the Saints. Michel would've been a good 3rd option to Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, but he decides to go to Miami where he would have a larger role. The Saints don’t need another running back but it is definitely a big want. With Kamara’s potential suspension and Ingram not getting any younger, they could use a third back to carry some of the load in between the tackles.

The Saints haven’t been shy to add LSU players to their roster this offseason and...
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Saints Taco Charlton Has a Chance to Shed Draft Bust Label

  • News source: Bob Rose
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 48
There are very few teams that can equal the talent and depth of the New Orleans Saints along the edge of their defensive line. Despite dealing with injuries all year, the position accounted for 29.5 sacks, 58 QB hits, and 33 tackles for loss in 2021.

Eleven-year veteran DE Cam Jordan had a monstrous stretch run and finished with 12.5 sacks, 34 pressures, and 13 tackles for loss. Marcus Davenport, a 2018 first-round pick, had the best year of his career with 9 sacks, 21 pressures, 9 tackles for loss, and 3 forced fumbles in just ten games.

Payton Turner, the team's first-round choice last...
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Fleur-de-Links, May 23: Saints defense named as potential best in the NFL for 2022

  • News source: Adam Dunnells
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 64
The Saints, the Los Angeles Rams, and the Buffalo Bills are the teams named by CBS Sports as most likely to have the best defenses in the NFL in 2022.

According to Caesars Sportsbook, the Saints are only the favorites in 6 of their games in the 2022 season.

Saints safety J.T. Gray handed out awards at the High School Coach of the Year Banquet in New Orleans.

ESPN analyst Mina Kimes shared her thoughts on a potential Drew Brees return to the NFL, saying, “Oh might he come back to football? No, guys, did you watch Drew Brees in his final year? No, he’s not coming back.”

After signing a...
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8 Saints whose roster spots are in jeopardy in 2022

  • News source: John Sigler, Dylan Sanders, Maddy Hudak, Ross
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 205
The New Orleans Saints have built a strong roster ahead of the 2022 season, but competition to make the team might end up leaving some familiar names on the outside looking in — with roster cuts on the still-distant horizon, even veteran players have some things to prove once the Saints gather for training camp. Everyone knows that the NFL stands for “Not For Long,” and that these opportunities aren’t guaranteed. Here are eight players we’ll be watching closely over the summer:
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Saints ranked at No. 19 in the NFL, per ESPN's FPI rankings

  • News source: Dylan Sanders
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 87
There seems to be a ton of positivity coming out of New Orleans when it comes to how the Saints will perform in 2022, but the optimism seems to stop there. Most of the non-New Orleans based media coverage of the NFL feels lukewarm or at least very wary of the team’s potential performance.

According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Saints are ranked 19th in the league in total FPI. The defense is to thank for keeping the team even that high, as the Saints rank 8th in defensive FPI while the offense ranks 21st.

Taking a look at the rest of the NFC South’s total FPI outlook, the Tampa...
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Look: Chris Olave represents the Saints at NFLPA Rookie Premiere

  • News source: Ross Jackson
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 54
Rookie New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave is representing his new team in Los Angeles this weekend as a part of the NFL Players’ Association Rookie Premiere. ESPN’s Adam Schefter shared a photo of the 42 rookies participating in this year’s event, providing fans with another look at the former Buckeye now wearing black and gold.

According to the NFLPA’s website, the Rookie Premiere event “provides partners with unmatched access to 40 of the NFL’s newest stars at their first major business and marketing event following the NFL Draft.” They go on to describe the gathering as “one...
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Saints rank dead-last in PFF's 'salary cap health' rankings

  • News source: Ross Jackson
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 78
The salary cap management approaches of the New Orleans Saints are always a hot topic. As a team that tends to operate up against the NFL’s limits, restructures contracts, and pushes spending down the road, the Saints are often references in one of two ways when it comes to their finances. Either they’re considered geniuses of the trade, or constantly navigating “cap hell.”

According to Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus, the latter is the more accurate assumption. The Saints rank dead-last in his “cap health rankings” going into the 2022 season. General manager Mickey Loomis has...
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Ranking every game on the Saints' 2022 schedule, from easiest to toughest

  • News source: Dylan Sanders
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 59
Now that the NFL has released the 2022 schedule, we can take a look from week to week and get a full scope on how difficult each game should be on paper. The New Orleans Saints have lucked out: their schedule ranks near the middle of the road in terms of difficulty, and a number of their toughest games are going to be at home in front of a friendly crowd.

There are some rough stretches this season, though, whether it be some tough games before a late-season bye week or a cold-weather road trip as the season winds down. Here is our ranking of how difficult we think each game will be, from...
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Saints S Justin Evans Looks to Revitalize Career

  • News source: Bob Rose
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 170
The 2022 New Orleans Saints will have almost a completely different look at safety than they've had the previous two years. Gone are S Marcus Williams, after signing a lucrative free-agent deal with the Ravens, and Malcolm Jenkins, who retired after 13 seasons. In are versatile ball-hawking safeties Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu, previously with the Jets and Chiefs respectively.

Also back is defensive star Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and P.J. Williams. All four players can line up anywhere in the secondary or be disruptive forces at the line of scrimmage. Combined with corners Marshon...
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The Saints traded up to draft Chris Olave. Here's how the Ohio State receiver made his way to the NFL.

  • News source: BY AMIE JUST | Staff writer
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 92
Chris Olave still basked in his post-NFL draft exhilaration in Las Vegas when his iPhone began to chime.

Olave had been bombarded with an endless stream of notifications since the moment the New Orleans Saints traded up with Washington to draft the Ohio State star receiver at No. 11. But this alert was different.

Olave looked down to see an incoming FaceTime from Michael Thomas — the two-time All-Pro wideout whom Olave has looked up to for years, and now, one of his teammates in the NFL.

The motivation for Thomas’ call was two-fold, to congratulate his fellow Buckeye on being drafted to...
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Rod Walker: As Deshaun Watson meets with NFL investigators, Saints fans can relax about outcome

  • News source: BY ROD WALKER | Sports columnist
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 108
As I looked through Saturday's edition of The Times-Picayune | Advocate, there was a subtle reminder of just how different this offseason could have been for the New Orleans Saints.

If the Saints had won the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes back in March, the story in Saturday’s paper would have been on the front page instead of on page three of the sports section.

“Watson’s busy week includes meetings with NFL investigators” the headline read.

Of course, every team that courted Watson knew that was going to be part of the process in landing one of the most talented quarterbacks in the...
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Three Remaining Free-Agent Running Back Targets for the Saints

  • News source: Brendan Boylan
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  • Views: 199
The New Orleans Saints are still gauging their options at running back and for good reason. With a potential suspension handed to superstar RB Alvin Kamara looming, the Black and Gold will have a major hole to fill offensively. Though no suspension has been given to Kamara at this point, Mickey Loomis and Dennis Allen have continued to do their homework on potential additions to the Saints Running Back room.

Just days after the 2022 NFL Draft the Saints hosted former first-round selection Sony Michel for a visit. Michel, a player who is familiar with shared backfield duties in his NFL...
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Saints DT Kentavius Street Has the Ability to be a Major Free-Agent Bargain

  • News source: Bob Rose
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 190
The New Orleans Saints have had an active offseason. They withstood a bombshell in January, when coach Sean Payton surprisingly announced his retirement after 16 years with the team. New Orleans then lost Pro Bowl LT Terron Armstead and rangy S Marcus Williams in free agency. Veteran leader Malcolm Jenkins also retired after 13 seasons.

Despite those hits, the Saints were successful in addressing several team needs. First round picks WR Chris Olave and OT Trevor Penning are expected to have immediate impacts. Top free agents were added in the way of safeties Marcus Maye and Tyrann...
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Is Odell Beckham Jr. a Need or Want for the Saints?

  • News source: John Hendrix
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 132
Saints fans have undoubtedly paid close attention to social media, especially after Jarvis Landry responded to a tweet that had suggested a potential reunion with Odell Beckham Jr. now that he and Tyrann Mathieu are back home.

Of course, some of this started when Beckham Jr. responded to Landry's Instagram post about coming home. He replied, "TAKEEEE MEEEE HOMEEEEEE SLIMEEEEE!!!!!". Landry even told WWL Radio that he was trying his best to recruit him.

It's been fun seeing the various reactions to him potentially coming to the Saints. Here's a few factors to consider for New Orleans...
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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: 158
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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