Verdict on if NOLA Saints gave up too much for Chris Olave
New Orleans, by virtue of the draft trades with both Philadelphia and Washington, has shown that they believe they can be competitive in the NFC this season. They have beaten the Tom Brady-led Bucs in the last four regular-season meetings and were 5-2 last year in games that Jameis Winston started.
Therefore, to reach the upper echelon of the NFC and truly be Super Bowl contenders, the Saints had to add skilled playmakers to an offense that last season ranked 27th in “explosive play rate“, defined as pass plays that netted at least 20 yards and rush plays that netted at least 10 yards.
The addition of Olave, who ran a 4.39 40 at the NFL combine and averaged an impressive 15.9 yards per catch during his Ohio State career, will help immensely in that regard and open up more space to allow Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara to flourish underneath.
It is clear the value that Chris Olave brings to the Saints offense. Draft analysts will bemoan the capital given up in both trades. However, the Saints made the trade with the Eagles with the intention of adding another difference-maker for the 2022 NFL season.
They correctly sensed the run on wide receivers starting with the Falcons at 8 and moved up to get their primary target. It is highly unlikely any of the top four WRs would have been available to the Saints at 16.
In addition, New Orleans was able to keep their pick at 19 and their second-round pick in the trade-up with the Commanders. According to the NFL draft trade value chart, the Saints gave up 162 points in draft capital (third and fourth-round picks), well short of the 250 points it should have cost to move up from 16 to 11.
The Saints continue to employ a “quality over quantity” approach to the NFL draft. Much of this philosophy stems from their success with undrafted free agents, many of whom become essential to the team’s success and serve as early to mid-round picks as far as contribution to the team’s success.
Players such as Deonte Harty, Shy Tuttle, Carl Granderson, Marquez Callaway, and Blake Gillikin serve an important role on the team and bring similar, if not more, value than the drafted players on the team.
Therefore, when the Saints identify a player they target such as Olave, Mickey Loomis and company don’t hesitate to give up picks to move up and make their desired selection. This was especially true this year as, for the first time in the last several seasons, the Saints had a fair amount of cap space to address any holes left in the roster after the draft, as seen with the recent Tyrann Mathieu signing.
In the end, the Saints did what they had to do in order to get Chris Olave. His performance on the field will be the ultimate answer to the question of whether the Saints gave up too much to acquire him.
However, at this point in the offseason, the addition of Chris Olave, despite the steep cost, is a win for New Orleans and fans should be happy to see him in black and gold for years to come.
What do you think, Saints fans? Did New Orleans give up too much to move up and draft Chris Olave?