What is Chris Olave’s projected Year 1 impact for the Saints?

Chris Olave, Saints. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Chris Olave, Saints. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Saints may have found their wide receiver of the future in Chris Olave, even if they gave up king’s ransom for him. How dangerous can Olave be in 2022?

Olave, the 11th overall pick of the 2022 draft, slides immediately into a WR2 role alongside Michael Thomas, serving as an explosive weapon in the Saints’ new-look offense. NOLA answered fans’ prayers by selecting a wideout early, and the team couldn’t have done much better than Olave.

Bleacher Report’s Ian Wharton projected every 2022 first-round pick’s Year 1 impact on their respective teams and had Olave recording 79 catches, 1,100 yards, and seven touchdowns in 2022.

"It’s not hard to imagine New Orleans simply swapping out Deonte Harris for Olave and having an even more potent passing attack with Winston.Having a true No. 1 possession threat and a willing gunslinger like Winston puts Olave’s floor and ceiling above anyone else in this class. His role is defined and the opportunity is clear. His projection would drop if Winston misses significant stretches of the season, though."

Wharton points out the importance of the “marriage” between player, scheme, and surrounding cast which will likely determine just how productive Olave is in his rookie year.

New Orleans Saints could see a 1,000-yard receiving season from Chris Olave in 2022

Olave is one of six wideouts drafted within the first 18 picks of the 2022 draft, and in order to establish himself as the best rookie wide receiver, he needs to generate chemistry with Jameis Winston.

Whereas fellow rookie Garrett Wilson will be working with the unproven Zach Wilson and Drake London has the untested Marcus Mariota, Olave can thrive under Winston’s powerful arm — more so than any other first-round rookie wideout, Olave benefits from playing for a historically stable and successful franchise like New Orleans.

At Ohio State, Olave proved he was a better route-runner than Wilson, and he and Thomas are reportedly already putting in the reps together this offseason.

The Saints traded up to take him because that’s how badly they needed a young and talented wideout to fill out their offensive scheme. Now it’s time for Olave to prove exactly what he’s worth.

Next. 5 games that absolutely must be in primetime in 2022. dark

At his best, Olave could blow by the competition and win OROY. At his worst….well, we don’t want to think about that.