New Orleans Saints rookie Chris Olave is learning on the fly with new teammate Michael Thomas

New Orleans Saints rookie Chris Olave is learning on the fly with new teammate Michael Thomas

METAIRIE, La. — The first day of Chris Olave’s New Orleans Saints rookie camp was technically Friday. The 11th overall pick in the NFL Draft, however, has already spent the better part of the past two weeks getting acquainted with his new running mate, Michael Thomas, at their joint base in Southern California.

Thomas greeted the former Ohio State wide receiver on FaceTime shortly after being drafted — then invited Olave to come stay with him and practice.

“I couldn’t refuse,” said Olave, who spent a week and a half with Thomas before flying to New Orleans for this weekend’s rookie minicamp.

However, it was not the first time that they had trained together. Thomas shared a photo on draft night when they did the same thing a year ago.

“I feel like it was exactly a year ago,” Olave said. “It was cool to be there with him. And finally being in the same team is going to be huge, I can’t wait.

“He kind of showed me love since college, so we used to text every once in a while. … I feel like we have the same mindset. We both want dominate. We’re both competitors. Just as we step onto the pitch, we transform into a different person. Just knowing him and knowing he’s on the other side of the pitch, that is going to make us better and make us go hard.

Olave said he liked Thomas’ “dog” mentality and laughed when he said he had seen him up close over the past two weeks.

“I see it, man. I see how he works,” Olave said. “If he drops a pass, he sends the ball, he goes crazy. But it’s who you want around you. I feel like it’s going to make you better. He’s going to call you on your bs

“So I like Mike as a teammate. Even as a person, I understand him, where he’s coming from. I see why he’s going so hard on it.”

Olave already counts Washington Commanders star Terry McLaurin as a mentor and “big brother” he’s emulated since they were teammates at Ohio State.

And now he can add Jarvis Landry to his impressive list of mentors after the five-time Pro Bowler agreed to a deal with the Saints on Friday.

Olave said he heard the “big” news as he walked out of the training ground.

“I can’t wait to learn from them, these two legends,” Olave said of Thomas and Landry. “I just started playing catcher in my freshman year of high school. Coming here and having Mike Thomas and Jarvis Landry to help me, I have a lot of room for development, I look forward to it. maximize.

“I watched a lot of movies about Jarvis, just his speed of movement. I watched a lot of movies about him in college, trying to take some things out of his game. And Mike is one of the best receivers in the game. game, so of course I watch it. But to see them in person, to see how they perform in person, I feel like it’s going to help me a lot.

The New Orleans receiver room has undergone one of the most sweeping transformations of any NFL position group this offseason. The Saints finished an unusual 32nd in the league in passing offense last year — largely due to serious injuries to Thomas, quarterback Jameis Winston and the offensive line.

Now Thomas is expected to return after missing the full season with an ankle injury, along with newcomers Olave and Landry.

“(Landry) has obviously been a very good player in our league. He’s a guy who can move the strings. And we feel like he’s a character-wise guy, from a player-wise perspective. leadership, which we can use,” said new Saints coach Dennis Allen, when asked if he’d heard from LSU fans in the area who were excited about the additions of Landry and Tyrann Mathieu.

“Well, yeah, my whole neighborhood, I think, texted me in one form or another,” Allen said.

As for Olave, Allen said two days of rookie camp was a “small sample size.” But so far, the 6-foot-1, 189-pound is “what we thought he would be.”

“A guy who’s really quick, smooth in transitions, good road runner,” Allen said. “And look, at the end of the day, he’s the type of character that we wanted to bring into the building. And I think that’s as important as anything.”

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