Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
An athletic Inside Linebacker with some off-the-field issues. Is Alec Ogletree's play-making ability good enough to overcome some dumb decisions?
Now that the Colts have addressed several key areas that were desperately needed through Free Agency, it opens them up for their first round pick to take the best player available, no matter the position. There are several positions that would take precedence (WR, DE, OLB), but even a position that isn't a necessity could be back in play. One guy that should get a look is ILB Alec Ogletree from Georgia.
Ogletree is an early entrant after playing only three years for the Bulldogs, but after the season he had a year ago it's tough for anyone to argue with his decision. He played in only 10 games last year (more on that in a bit), but had 111 tackles, 11.5 for a loss, three sacks, and interception, and six pass break ups. Those number are pretty good for a full season, let alone just 10 games. For his career he appeared in 30 games, starting 23 of them. He was named First Team All-SEC last season, as well as Third Team All-America by Phil Steele. Ogletree did miss six games his junior season with a broken foot, but came back and finished the season strong, recording 52 tackles in those 8 games.
The biggest news Ogletree made this offseason was being arrested for a DUI just days before the Scouting Combine, not exactly the best thing to do before a "job interview". This isn't the first time he's made news off the field either. I mentioned above that he only played 10 games last season, and it was because he was suspended the first four games for failing a drug test. Not much else was disclosed on this, but we know he didn't play the first four games of the season. He was also suspended for a game as a Freshman for stealing a motorcycle helmet. Make what you will of this, but it seems he still has a bit of growing up to do.
Talent-wise, Ogletree is a monster that seems to be all over the field, and clearly a first round pick. With the off-the-field issues, however, it's tough to tell just how far he'll fall. As far as the Colts go, he wouldn't automatically get a starting spot, but I think he'd have a pretty good chance of earning it over the guys that are currently there (Pat Angerer, Kavell Conner). He may be the best player available, something I think the Colts could do at pick #24, it's just whether Ryan Grigson and the Colts staff feel Ogletree is worth the risk he could bring off the field. My guess is no, but I'm not the one making the decisions. Ogletree the football player is quite intriguing. Just might not be worth the risk.
Has excellent speed for the position, can turn on the jets to chase plays down form behind. Beats blocks with hand quickness, plays the position like a safety with a chance to build a frame like a linebacker. That helps undercut blocks to make tackles for loss from behind. Can really hit when he wants to. Attacks blockers with authority. Best at closing on the edge, when running back looks to bounce outside or the quarterback scrambles out of the pocket.
Rarely uses hands to fight with blockers despite an aggressive mentality. Overruns a lot of plays between the tackles, struggles to recover. Has a lot of issues dealing with second level blocks from the offensive line, rarely can work over top of them, there winds up walled off. Run and chase player at this point, loses gap integrity with false or wasted steps.
STRENGTHS: A former safety, Ogletree showed off his terrific range and athleticism, making plays all over the field in 2012 and was often the best player on a defense loaded with NFL talent. Terrific quickness around the edge, capable of making stops in the backfield and is fast in pursuit. Doesn't shy from making the big hit. Arrives with deceiving power and violent intentions.
WEAKNESSES: Needs to be more consistent filling against the run and tackling with better pad level. Leaner than ideal frame. He'll need to show greater strength in disengaging from blockers. Off-field concern following a four-game suspension in 2012, reportedly for violating Georgia's substance-abuse policy.
COMPARES TO: Sean Weatherspoon, OLB, Atlanta Falcons -- If Ogletree can play with a little more control, he can equal the production of the Falcons' star and perhaps even surpass him. Frankly, there isn't a more exciting linebacker prospect in the 2013 draft.
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