It has been a while since the New York Giants have selected a linebacker in the first round of the NFL Draft. The last time they did so, it was in the 1984 draft when they took Carl Banks from Michigan State University. That was 29 years ago, and the Giants—a franchise that has a history of legendary linebackers—are currently devoid of talent at the position.
It has been four years since the retirement of defensive leader, Antonio Pierce. And the necessity for a playmaking linebacker on the Giants’ roster is a glaring one. One only needs to look at the Giants’ narrow victory at the Dallas Cowboys in 2012 to see the lack of talent they currently have at the linebacker position. Cowboys tight end Jason Witten caught 18 passes for 167 yards in the game and it appeared as though there was little presence in the middle of New York’s once vaunted defense.
With their linebacking corps depleted and the tight end talent abundant in the NFC, it would be wise for the Giants to select University of Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree with the 19th overall pick. A talented coverage linebacker, Ogletree would be an immediate upgrade to the Giants roster. Moreover, his range and quickness would be an improvement from departed linebacker Chase Blackburn. This is seen in Ogletree’s 2012 season with the Bulldogs where he accumulated over 100 tackles– a stat that should quiet some of the concern over his pedestrian 40-yard dash time.
Another concern for Ogletree is his off the field issues– concerns that have him falling on many pundit’s draft boards. However, it is possible to address these concerns with a veteran locker room that has such figures as Antrel Rolle, Justin Tuck and Cullen Jenkins. In addition, Head Coach Tom Coughlin‘s sense of discipline would help ensure that Ogletree thrives in the NFL. Needless to say, his potential should quell any worries about off the field incidents.