METAIRIE, La. — Chris Olave’s first day of rookie camp at New Orleans Saints was technically Friday. However, the 11th overall pick in the NFL draft has already spent most of the past two weeks getting to know his new running mate, Michael Thomas, at their shared home in Southern California.
Thomas welcomed the former Ohio State recipient via FaceTime shortly after he was hired — then invited Olave to come stay and train with him.
“I couldn’t turn that down,” said Olave, who spent a week and a half with Thomas before flying to New Orleans for this weekend’s rookie mini-camp.
However, it was not the first time they trained together. Thomas shared a photo on draft night from when they did the same a year ago.
“I feel like it’s been exactly a year,” Olave said. “That was cool to be there with him. And to finally be on the same team will be huge, I can’t wait.
“He kind of showed love for me since college, so we used to send back and forth every now and then. … I feel like we have the same mentality. We both want to dominate. We’re both competitors. Just when we “Getting on the field, we become a different person. Just knowing him and knowing he’s on the other side of the field will make us better and make us tough.”
Olave said he likes Thomas’ “dog” mentality and laughed when he said he’d seen it up close in the past two weeks.
‘I see, man. I see how it works,’ said Olave. “If he drops a pass, he kicks the ball, he gets mad. But that’s who you want around you. I feel like that makes you better. He’ll call you out on your bs
“So I like Mike as a teammate. Even as a person I understand him, where he comes from. I understand why he is going so fast.”
Olave already considers Washington Commanders star Terry McLaurin a mentor and “big brother” whom he 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 struck a deal with the Saints on Friday.
Olave said he heard the “big” news when he came off the practice field.
“I can’t wait to learn from them, those two legends,” Olave said of Thomas and Landry. “I just started playing receiver in my freshman year of high school. Coming here and having Mike Thomas and Jarvis Landry help me gives me a lot of room for development, I can’t wait to take full advantage of that .
“I’ve seen a lot of movie about Jarvis, just his short movement speed. I’ve seen a lot of movies about him in college, trying to get some stuff out of his game. And Mike is one of the best receivers in the game, so “Of course I look at him. But to see them in person, to see how they work personally, I feel it will help me a lot.”
The New Orleans reception area has undergone one of the most radical transformations of any position in the NFL this offseason. The Saints finished in an unusual 32nd place in the league in passing on 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 clearly been a very good player in our league. He’s a man who can move the chains. And we feel like he’s a man from a character standpoint, from a leadership standpoint, that we can use,” said new Saints coach Dennis Allen, who was asked if he’s heard of LSU fans in the area raving about Landry and Tyrann Mathieu’s additions.
“Well, I think my whole neighborhood texted me somehow,” Allen said.
As for Olave, Allen said two days of rookie camp is a “small sample size.” But so far, the 6-foot-1, 189-pounder is “what we thought it would be.”
“A man who is very fast, smooth in transition, good route runner,” Allen said. “And look, ultimately he’s the type of character person we wanted to bring into the building. And I think that’s just as important as anything.”