Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson Show Why They’re First-Round Picks With Standout Performances at NFL Scouting Combine

It took less than 4.4 seconds for Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson to solidify their status as first-round draft picks at the NFL Scouting Combine.

As soon as each of the former Ohio State receivers had completed their one and only attempts at the 40-yard dash inside Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday night, both of them had already made their case for why they are two of the best receivers – if not the two best receivers – in the 2022 NFL draft class.

Officially, Wilson clocked in with a 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds while Olave posted an official time of 4.39 seconds, the eighth- and ninth-fastest times among all wide receivers at this year’s combine. While the official times weren’t quite as fast as the unofficial times clocked by NFL Network, which had Olave running a 4.26-second 40, both times nevertheless confirmed the elite speed that both of them showed during their Ohio State careers.

Of course, Wilson and Olave showed far more than just straight-line speed during their years playing in scarlet and gray, and they showcased that at the combine too, as both of them went full on-field workouts in which they also ran routes and caught passes from the quarterbacks participating in the combine.

Both of them looked the part in those drills, which I watched from inside Lucas Oil Stadium as part of a small group of Pro Football Writers of America members who were granted access to watch the receiving portion of the workout, allowing us to see every route they ran and pass they caught.

From my eyes – which might be a bit biased because I was focusing more on Olave and Wilson than any of the other receivers – Olave looked the best of any wideout in their group during the deep-ball portion of the workout, as he effortlessly tracked several long passes with his speed and hands just like he did during his Buckeye career.

Wilson showed his ability to adjust to the ball and make challenging catches as he made a pair of toe-tapping grabs at the sideline as well as a spinning deep-ball grab. He didn’t get as many well-placed throws on his deep balls as Olave did, but was able to catch multiple deep balls that were underthrown.

Although each of them had at least one pass go off of their hands for drops, their overall workouts could be described as smooth, as the majority of their routes and catches were clean. Combining what they did in receiver drills with their 40 times, their draft stocks should have only improved on Thursday night.

Although there were seven other wide receivers who also broke 4.4 in the 40, Wilson and Olave were the fastest of the wide receivers who have been widely projected as first-round picks. Penn State’s Jahan Dotson wasn’t far off with a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, but there is a clear difference between the times run by Olave and Wilson and the 4.55-second 40 run by Arkansas’ Treylon Burks. Alabama’s Jameson Williams likely would have ran a blazing-fast time of his own if he had been able to work out at the combine, but he’s recovering from a torn ACL that he suffered in the national championship game; USC’s Drake London, another projected top wideout, also did not work out in Indianapolis after suffering a season-ending ankle injury in October.

Except for the vertical jump, where Wilson (36”) out-leaped Olave (32”) by four inches, their combine measurables were very comparable to each other. While Wilson beat Olave by just one one-hundredth of a second on the official 40 times, Olave beat Wilson by just one inch in the broad jump, leaping 10-foot-4 to Wilson’s 10-foot-3. At 6 feet and 3/8 of an inch and 187 pounds, Olave measured in just slightly larger than Wilson, who measured in at 5-foot-11 and 3/4 inches and 183 pounds, though Wilson’s hand width (9 7/8 ” to 9 1/2”), arm length (32” to 31 1/8”) and wingspan (76 1/2” to 73 1/8”) are all bigger than Olave.

None of those numbers are going to blow scouts away, but with as well as they played during their Ohio State careers, as fast as they ran their 40s and as fluid as their receiving workouts were, they didn’t need to do anything spectacular in the other drills to leave the combine with their first-round draft stocks secure.

They’ll have one more opportunity to work out for NFL teams before next month’s draft at Ohio State’s pro day on March 23, but at this point, there aren’t many boxes left they really need to check. If they weren’t already both locks to be selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft on April 28, they should be now.

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