It’s a question that will be asked for the next three, four, maybe even five years: Was New Orleans Saints’ Chris Olave worth it?
Fans remain divided on whether the Ohio State wide receiver was worth all of that draft trade trouble — after all, in a 2022 draft class stacked chockful of impressive rookie wideouts, NOLA could have reasonably upgraded their receiver corps without paying a king’s ransom.
What’s done is done, but looking back, the Saints’ draft picks trade with the Philadelphia Eagles stands out as the franchise’s most questionable decision. For a brief reminder, the Eagles sent the No. 16 overall pick, No. 19 overall pick and a sixth-round pick to the Saints for the No. 18 overall pick, a third-round pick and a seventh-round pick as well as a 2023 first-rounder and 2024 second-rounder.
NOLA then sent three picks to the Washington Commanders for the No. 11 overall pick to secure Olave.
When a team is mortgaging away its future like that, the front office is bound to come under some fire.
CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani listed every NFC team’s most questionable offseason move and picked the draft picks trade for the Saints:
"The Saints got pretty wild this year when it came to trading draft picks.You have to appreciate the Saints’ desire to be aggressive, but I wonder about two things: what the Saints’ front office was looking for in making that initial trade, and how they felt after the draft with what they got and what they gave away."
New Orleans Saints will never forget their 2021 offseason draft trades
In the 2022 NFL Draft, the Saints selected Olave at 11th overall and Trevor Penning at 19th overall, which most would agree to be a solid haul.
Digging deeper into the technicalities, though, the Saints essentially gave up two first-round picks, two third-round picks, a fourth-round pick, a seventh-round pick, and a future first and second for Olave and Penning.
On paper, that doesn’t seem like a prudent trade decision at all.
The trade would be worth it if Olave and Penning develop into cornerstone pieces of the offense for years to come, but nothing is guaranteed. The two rookies fill huge roster holes for the Saints and could indeed play significant roles to revitalize the offense and get New Orleans back into the playoffs this season, but the question at hand is whether acquiring Olave and Penning was worth the boatload of picks they gave away.
Seeing that the preseason has barely even started and the rookies deserve time to get acclimated to the league (three years is widely acknowledged as an adequate development period), the Saints’ front office shouldn’t be getting criticized — yet.
Like almost everything else in life, give it time, and don’t seal players’ destinies before they get a chance to prove themselves.