NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Just two weeks after the NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints hosted a rookie minicamp over the weekend featuring the team’s five selections from 2022 and 61 other players invited to participate.
First-rounder Chris Olave garnered much attention on Saturday as the 11th overall pick showcased his explosive speed that garnered the wide receiver two All-Big Ten first-team selections during his four-year tenure at Ohio State.
The Saints traded up to secure Olave, who signed a guaranteed four-year deal worth $19 million on Friday. The new No. 12 will join a receiving corps bolstered by the signing of free agent Jarvis Landry and the return of All-Pro Michael Thomas, who missed the last season and a half due to an ankle injury.
Olave said he looks forward to playing with Landry and fellow Ohio State alum, Thomas.
“You know Mike, he’s a competitor,” said Olave. “I can’t wait to get on the field with him. He’s a dog and that’s what I like and that makes me go harder.”
Despite the brevity of minicamp, Dennis Allen likes what he sees in Olave and claims he’s exactly what the Saints want in the organization both professionally and personally.
“He’s really fast, smooth in transition, good route runner, and look, ultimately he’s the type of character person we wanted to bring into the building and I think that is as important as anything,” said Allen.
The Saints have signed four of their five draft picks, with only second-round cornerback Alontae Taylor still unsigned.
Fellow-first rounder Trevor Penning was also on hand after signing a four-year deal of his own worth a guaranteed $14 million.
Allen said Penning will fill the left tackle position left vacant by Terron Armstead when the 30-year-old, three-time pro-bowler signed with Miami in the offseason.
For the 6-foot-7, 320-pound Penning, the transition from Northern Iowa to the NFL is all about taking it one day at time.
“Every day we are installing something new,” he said. “It’s the NFL, there is a lot of stuff. Just one day at a time, you install more and more. You got to study it and get ready for the next day. It’s a lot being thrown at you. It’s hard stuff. You gotta be willing to put in that work.”
Fifth-round linebacker D’Marco Jackson and sixth-round defensive tackle Jordan Jackson joined Olave and Penning by signing their contracts on Friday as well.