New Orleans Saints' Chris Olave showed the league a glimpse of his abilities in Week 1's win against the Atlanta Falcons, and he should only get better from here.
As the 11th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and given how much the Saints traded for that pick, Olave will be under heavy scrutiny for the next three years at least.
The Ohio State product came to New Orleans as a talented route-runner, and heading into the season, he had the sixth-best odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
It's only fitting, then, that Olave shined in Week 1 as the team's most productive rookie, logging three catches on three targets for 41 yards. One of those catches completed a key two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter and helped the Saints mount a late-game comeback.
He may not have caught as many touchdowns as Michael Thomas or posted as much yardage as Jarvis Landry, but Olave made his bread and butter by dazzling defenders with his route-running abilities.
Saints' Chris Olave got his NFL career off to a promising start in 2022
See how he loses Falcons defensive back A.J. Terrell with a smooth cut inside:
Olave led all wide receivers and tight ends with an average 3.8 yards of separation per target in Week 1, and he also led all Saints receivers with 45 snaps.
New Orleans' passing offense may need more time to shape up into an efficient and humming unit, but Olave's usage in the scheme bodes well for his chances of breaking out as a rookie.
As long as Michael Thomas is in the starting lineup, Olave should benefit from weaker defensive coverage and more open looks -- it'll only be a matter of time before he records his first touchdown.
This season, Olave will have to keep working on generating chemistry with Jameis Winston, who in turn needs to limit his turnover-prone plays this season.
The baseline for the rookie receiver has been set. Up next, Olave will face a tougher defense in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an intense NFC South rivalry known to bring out both the best and worst of players.