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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

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: 23
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
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 92
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: 105
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: 83
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
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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: 105
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: 86
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
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 292
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
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 76
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
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 83
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
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 86
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
  • Replies: 0
  • Views: 164
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: 108
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: 114
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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