Top Five NFL Rookies Entering Week 12 | Saints’ Chris Olave Showing His Full Repertoire As An All-Around Receiver

New Orleans Saints WR Chris Olave is one of the best rookies in NFL
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Chris Olave is proving why he was so coveted coming out of Ohio State. Able to line up at any of the three wide receiver positions, the former Buckeyes star is turning heads down in Nawlins despite a struggling season for the New Orleans Saints. He takes the top spot in this week’s top five NFL rookies countdown.

1. Chris Olave — New Orleans Saints, WR

In an otherwise forgettable season “down on the bayou,” the play of Olave has shined. The speedy and technically sound wideout has displayed a knack for getting open. He’s outdueled some of the game’s best defensive backs despite not having a consistent signal-caller to get him the football. Olave has still tallied nearly 800 yards on 51 receptions, plus three touchdowns. This includes his five-catch and 102-yard outing in last Sunday’s win over the Rams.

2. Treylon Burks — Tennessee Titans, WR

The talented pass-catcher gave Titans fans a glimpse of what he brings to the table. Big, fast and sturdy, Burks finally looks healthy and now understands he doesn’t need to replace AJ Brown, just play his game and make plays. He did in a big win at Lambeau Field over the Packers, going for 111 yards on seven receptions.

His explosiveness is vital to a run-heavy, run-first Titans offense led by Derrick Henry.

3. Aidan Hutchinson — Detroit Lions, Edge

The 2021 Heisman runner-up and 2022 No. 2 overall pick has been as good as advertised for a talented but inexperienced Lions defense. This season the relentless “Hutch” has 30 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two interceptions, two passes defensed. He also leads the team in QB hurries and pressures. 

In a Week 11 upset road win over the Giants Hutchinson had four tackles, one sack and an interception. Further stating his case for DROY.

Hutchinson wasn’t nealry as productive from a statistical standpoint in Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Bills. But the attention he required allowed 2022 fifth-round pick James “The Problem” Houston out of Jackson State to rack up two sacks and a fumble recovery.

4. James Cook — Buffalo Bills, RB

The Bills have been searching for a consistent running game to go along with the passing of star quarterback Josh Allen. They may have found it in 2022 draft pick James Cook, the younger brother of Vikings star back Dalvin Cook.

Little brother had a breakout game in Week 11 against Cleveland, toting the mail for 86 yards on 11 carries, including a 29-yard scamper that displayed the quickness and home run ability that Cook possesses and the Bills run game lacks. Cook only touched the ball twice in Week 12, but his team came up with a 28-25 win over Detroit on Thanksgiving.

An elated Allen spoke highly of his backfield mate.

“If we can run it like that we’re gonna have to continue to run it. That’s no secret. Very impressed with by the way we ran the football.”

5. Sauce Gardner — New York Jets, CB

Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner is already looking elite on the outside. The former Cincinnati Bearcats star has truly been a shutdown corner this season. He leads the league in passes defended with 14, including last Sunday’s outing (Nov. 20), where Patriots starter Mac Jones didn’t even look his way. If Sauce keeps this up he may earn the distinction as a “Gang Green” legend, joining the ranks of such stars like Darrelle Revis, aka “Revis Island.”

We’ll call him “Sauce Island.”