INDIANAPOLIS — Chris Olave doesn't consider himself to be competing with anyone this week at the NFL Combine.
Olave, one of the top receiving prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft class after four quality years at Ohio State, has already displayed plenty of evidence that he's ready to take the next step to the NFL. He finished his college career with 35 touchdowns, the most in Buckeyes history, and his speed, deep-ball ability and trusty pair of hands made him one of the most prolific receivers in the country.
But the abundance of production isn't why he doesn't want to compare himself to the other top prospects whom he's been grouped with as a first-round caliber prospect.
Olave is taking a more humble approach to Combine week — he's competing with himself. He's hoping to be better than he's ever been when it comes to showcasing his abilities to NFL teams, from striving for his fastest 40-yard dash time to displaying his best self in meetings.
"I just want to prove it to myself," he said at the NFL Combine. "I've been training for so long, and to get this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is a blessing. I just want to go out there and compete against myself."
The wide receivers speak at their media availability at the 2022 NFL Combine in Indianapolis Indiana
Olave's mindset is a good one to have in Indy, but he's still undoubtedly competing against some of the other top receiving prospects in the draft, and the Browns will likely have heavy interest in all of them with their first-round pick at No. 13 overall.
One of those players is Olave's teammate, Garrett Wilson. He's been a popular mock draft pick to land in Cleveland so far and is regarded as one of the top 3 prospects in the wide receiver class, but both him and Olave could see changes in their predicted draft positioning after the Combine performances. Wilson totaled 12 touchdowns and was second on the Buckeyes with 1,058 receiving yards.
Olave said he and Wilson aren't competing against each other, but rather rooting for each other.
"Garrett's my guy," Olave said. "There's no competition between us. We're both happy for each other. He's a talent and one of those natural freaks. I can't wait to see him perform and see the crazy numbers he's going to put up."
Olave said he met with the Browns this week and would cherish a chance to stay in Ohio, where he'd have several Browns fans already familiar with his skills from his time in Columbus. Cleveland has two Ohio State players on its roster in CB Denzel Ward and DT Tommy Togiai, and Olave or Wilson could raise that number to three.
"It's a great organization," he said. "I definitely like the way they run things. Just to stay in the state of Ohio… I know the fanbase is crazy and is one of the best fanbases. I would definitely love that and enjoy that."
Olave would certainly be a good fit and is plenty capable of delivering the immediate impact the Browns would want from a first-round receiver. That's because he spent four years practicing against the top cornerbacks of the Big Ten — which included former Northwestern CB and Browns 2021 first-round pick Greg Newsome II — and should be well-groomed to build big performances in the NFL immediately.
But even in those moments, Olave still considered himself to be competing against, well, himself. It's how he stays motivated and ensures he always has a next level to reach, and that mindset isn't stopping this week.
It won't stop when he reaches the NFL, either.
"It's me vs. me," he said, "and I want to show the world what I can do."