Alec Ogletree: Still the top draft prospect for the Cincinnati Bengals

There have been questions in the last three weeks regarding Alec Ogletree‘s draft stock after a DUI just days before NFL Scouting Combine.

At the combine, Ogletree was interviewed by 25 teams and he said that when it came to asking about the DUI, he said, “It was pretty much 50-50, they asked me, ‘Why should we believe you?’ and stuff like that. Once I gave them an answer, they took what they needed from me and basically moved to the football aspect.”

Based on skill alone, Ogletree could have been a top-15 choice, but his DUI coupled with a failed drug test last year have pushed him farther down the draft board. It really shows his skill level to go through both of these misdemeanors and still be thought of as the Cincinnati Bengals‘ first choice.

Although the recent off-field problem adds an element of risk to the situation, Ogletree’s 111 total tackles, three sacks and sox passes defended last season show that he is an excellent play-maker with great sideline-to-sideline speed, and would have the ability to slot right into the middle linebacker position from day one.

Ogletree has also proven his speed and athleticism, being brought to Georgia as a strong safety and remaining there for is freshman year before moving to linebacker in 2011.

Ogletree was capable of showing teams that he was unaffected by the DUI and once again showed of his skills with an excellent turn-out at the scouting combine. With a 4.7 40-yard dash, a 33 inch vertical leap and a respectable 20 reps on the bench, he showed that he has the elite height, weight, strength and speed combo that will translate well in the NFL.

The Bengals don’t really have any huge issues on their team at the moment but a linebacker, a safety and a running back are all things that they should be looking to shore up in the draft. There is no obvious first round running back choice for the Bengals, so the key for them is to strengthen their defense.

Rey Maualuga is almost certainly going for a swim in the free agency sea come Monday, so bringing in Ogletree as a replacement on the defensive line would make perfect sense. It would be ideal for them to be able to get someone like safety Kenny Vaccaro, but for him to still be available after the first 15 does not seem like a possibility.

With all of the upside that Ogletree brings with him, a front seven involving Vontaze Burfict, Domata Peko, Michael Johnson, Geno Atkins and Ogletree himself could make for one of the top defenses next season.

Likelihood

75% chance – Historically, Marvin Lewis has taken guys with character issues, but he may decide that he is not worth the risk at pick number 21. If linebacker is the route that the Bengals are going to go down in the first round, however, two of the top choices, Ogletree and Te’o both come with baggage.

If Vaccaro does fall to the Bengals as unlikely as it is, then Ogletree will probably be an afterthought.


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