COLUMBUS — The NFL got its first taste of the talent in Ohio State’s wide receivers room in late March.
While Justin Fields was impressing coaches and scouts with his arm at Pro Day, Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson were on the receiving end of a number of those passes. After proving to be perhaps the nation’s best wide receiver duo this past season, the two are back for another year.
Olave could’ve followed his old quarterback to the NFL, but he decided to return to Columbus for another season. The Buckeyes now have two surefire first-round picks at wideout. They have a chance to do something that hasn’t been done at Ohio State since 2007, when Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez both had their names called in the opening round of the NFL Draft.
There’s still nearly three months until the start of the season, but early 2022 mock drafts have Olave and Wilson slotted as first-round picks.
“For the coaches to let us be involved with Justin’s Pro Day, you know, that was a huge blessing,” Wilson said this spring. “Just to show your ability a year early in front of those scouts — it’s something I definitely didn’t take for granted. Being able to get that opportunity, I was super nervous for it. So, to get those nerves out of the way and know what I’m getting myself into whenever that time comes for me to have my own Pro Day, it was definitely a good experience.”
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay released his first 2022 mock draft on Thursday, which included the Ohio State duo. McShay projects Olave as the first wide receiver taken off the board in next year’s draft, selected with the No. 12 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons. Wilson’s the fourth wide receiver drafted, falling into the early 20s to the New England Patriots at No. 23.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler shakes things up in his 2022 projections, picking Wilson as the first wide receiver to go off the board at No. 16 to the Tennessee Titans. Olave’s slated at No. 30 to the Detroit Lions.
And FOX college football writer R.J. Young foresees Wilson picked in the top five, grabbed by the New York Giants with the fourth overall pick. He doesn’t have Olave as a first-round pick, though.
“[Pro Day] was fun,” Olave said. “To finally get out there and run routes in front of scouts and just run routes with all my teammates, especially catch balls from Justin [Fields]? It was fun going out there and trying to make him look good.”
There’s nearly a year to go until either Chris Olave or Garrett Wilson will hear their names called. Both will make their fair share of highlight plays this season, working to get the Buckeyes back to the College Football Playoff. They’ll probably continue to flip-flop with each other in mock drafts, too. Something truly odd will have to happen for both to slip outside of the first round.
But one thing is a fact — Ohio State will have a wide receiver taken in the opening round of the NFL Draft for the first time since 2007.