Everybody knows that one of the best parts of being a sports fan is debating and dissecting the most (and least) important questions in the sporting world with your friends. So, we’re bringing that to the pages of LGHL with our favorite head-to-head column: You’re Nuts.
In You’re Nuts, two LGHL staff members will take differing sides of one question and argue their opinions passionately. Then, in the end, it’s up to you to determine who’s right and who’s nuts.
This week’s topic: The perfect NFL teams for Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson
First and foremost, I believe Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave will each find future success, regardless of when and where they are drafted. Maybe this is me being a homer, but I think both former Buckeyes are supremely talented, and it is impossible to argue that either is/was simply a flash-in-the-pan. Their college careers were far more impressive than Terry McLaurin’s — the most recent Ohio State WR turned NFL stud — and I think they can find similar success to that of Scary Terry, sooner rather than later.
Both Wilson and Olave have games predicated on all-around skill and technique, rather than size and/or speed (although they both have plenty of the latter). This should give them an advantage in their pursuit of NFL glory, and I’m excited to see what each can do at the next level.
When I was deciding on an ideal landing spot for each of these guys, I tried to consider all real and meaningful factors... So, in other words, I wasn’t going to put either of them on my Cincinnati Bengals just for fun. My thought process revolved around draft position, team need(s), current WR situation, etc. I quickly eliminated both former Buckeyes as top-10 candidates, but after that, I found a ton of potential fits that I liked. No need to look any further, Gene, these are two mock draft picks that are guaranteed to hit.
Garret Wilson — No. 18 to the New Orleans Saints
Two things: 1) I was surprised I had Wilson falling this far, and 2) I refuse to wish Cleveland upon a player I intend to root for. I promised myself I would keep emotion out of this, but I could not forecast Wilson to the Browns at No. 13, even though I like the potential fit. So I have him ending up in New Orleans, with approximately 15 other former Buckeyes.
I mentioned earlier that I eliminated both Wilson and Olave as potential top-10 picks. Well, that is because I eliminated all wide receivers as potential top-10 picks. This class is absolutely loaded, but each team I looked at had bigger needs at the top of the draft. Will I be surprised if one or two pass catchers goes in the first 10-12 picks? No, because it is a ridiculously-talented group. But the Falcons and the Giants were the teams I viewed as being the most “WR-needy”, and both of those clubs are more than a pass catcher away from contention.
The WR draft started at No. 13 for me, and I was definitely intrigued by the Browns. Yes, they just traded for Amari Cooper, but it seems as if Jarvis Landry is on his way out. Cleveland needs another stud at WR, and Wilson qualifies. However, I think USC’s Drake London is the first guy off the board at that position. He is a 6-foot-5 bully with skill, and I’m sure multiple teams will fall in love with his game. He might also be better suited for Baker Mayfield’s game, which is not rooted in accuracy. London is a big target, and Mayfield might need the whole, actual city to land an accurate pass in. A WR who shares the name is a start.
The New Orleans Buckeyes, ahem, Saints are the big winners here. For years, they have needed a running mate for Michael Thomas, and now they can pair him with yet another former Buckeye. Not only that, Wilson could be a great complement to Can’t Guard Mike. Thomas has primarily been a possession guy and a killer with the slants. Wilson could play outside and be New Orleans’ homerun threat. Match made in heaven. Put it on the board.
Chris Olave — No. 28 to the Green Bay Packers
Here is another potential fit that I love, and a similar situation to that of the New Orleans Saints. The Packers needs a WR to play opposite their star (Davante Adams in this case). They have tried again and again... Oh, wait, they have seemingly never tried to draft a stud WR for the mercurial Aaron Rodgers. Olave could be a perfect fit, and exactly what they have been looking for.
What does Rodgers look for in a WR? Look back at the history, and pretend we can read his mind. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Adams were/are cerebral players, with expert footwork and route-running ability. They are also physically gifted, but work with me here. Chis Olave is not a one-dimensional burner, nor is he a physical freak a la Calvin Johnson. The Ohio State record-setter is a skilled technician with speed to burn. He could make an already-potent Green Bay offense even more dangerous.
I think Olave will be a great complementary wide receiver. Maybe he becomes a legitimate No. 1, but I don’t see it happening right away. In Green Bay, he would get an opportunity to develop and learn from one of the best in the game, making him a greater threat down the road. I wrestled with choosing New England or Las Vegas here, but settling in as Adam’s partner in crime seemed like a perfect scenario.
There you have it, Gene. Take it to the bank. Two Ohio State wide receivers in the first round, in two ideal situations. No matter which teams end up with these former Buckeyes, I can almost guarantee that we will be watching both make plays for years to come.
Like Josh, I think both Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are destined for success at the next level. Brian Hartline has done a tremendous job both recruiting and developing wide receiver talent at Ohio State, and this year’s duo of Buckeyes entering the NFL Draft are the prime example. Wilson, a five-star stud out of Texas, was everything he was projected to be as a prospect and more. Olave, a low three-star prospect, blossomed into one of the best wideouts in program history during his time in Columbus. Now, both will be collecting a large paycheck come April.
Garrett Wilson — No. 13 to the Cleveland Browns
While Josh shied away from putting that Browns evil on Wilson, I will not do the same. Their recent acquisition of Amari Cooper doesn’t bother me all that much, as like Josh said it seems like Jarvis Landry will likely be playing elsewhere in 2022. However, the need at wide receiver for Cleveland isn’t the main reason that I’m pegging Wilson to make the two-hour trek up north, and it has to do with the other in-state NFL team, the Cincinnati Bengals.
I think the Browns should look to follow the same system that turned the Bengals from a perennial bottom-dweller to a playoff team, and that is matching a stud collegiate wide receiver with his college quarterback. We’ve seen how much success was created with Joe Burrow throwing the rock to his former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase. Baker Mayfield is not the answer at QB, but with an especially weak draft class at the position this year, I think the Browns will wait until next season to try and fine their next franchise quarterback. That is where Garrett Wilson comes in.
If the Browns were to draft Wilson this season, they could then match him with his college quarterback by taking C.J. Stroud in the 2023 NFL Draft. Stroud was tremendous in 2021, and with a similar campaign this year for the Buckeyes, he would easily be one of the top quarterbacks in next year’s draft. An offense with the built-in chemistry of Stroud and Wilson while also tossing Cooper and guys like David Njoku and Nick Chubb into the mix would be a deadly combination. It may not be the best for him in year one having to attempt to catch passes from the inaccurate Mayfield, but it would pay off in the long run.
Chris Olave — No. 22 to the Las Vegas Raiders
It is no secret that the AFC West is going to be a juggernaut offensive in 2022. Patrick Mahomes has his army of speedy wide receivers in Kansas City, Justin Herbert is an up-and-coming star for the Chargers, the Broncos just landed Russell Wilson from Seattle, and the Raiders... have Darren Waller. Las Vegas could certainly look to add some firepower in this year’s draft, and they could easily add Chris Olave to help Derek Carr compete in what should be a very high-flying division.
The Raiders will obviously be without Henry Ruggs, whose DUI case will almost certainly end his NFL career, and outside of Waller there aren’t a ton of super dangerous pass-catchers on the roster. Hunter Renfrow has been a reliable target for some time now, and it looks like Bryan Edwards could be a solid player moving forward, but the team could really use a guy to take the top off of opposing defenses. You know who was really good in college at taking the top off opposing defenses? Chris Olave.
I think Olave will likely be the third wide receiver taken in this year’s draft, behind Wilson and Drake London — who I think will likely end up in Cleveland and New Orleans, in neither order. Olave is a terrific route runner and has a knack for getting behind opposing DBs for big plays. With Waller and Renfrow excelling moreso underneath, Olave could be Carr’s go-to deep threat when the Raiders need big gains. I like the fit, and I think this selection would work out swimmingly for everyone involved.