Neglect is one of the worst things that an NFL general manager can here about any particular position on a team’s roster, but that is the case for St. Louis Rams’ GM Les Snead and the linebacker spot. Even though the Rams have one of the better backers in the league in James Laurinaitis and a surprise performer in Jo-Lonn Dunbar from a year ago, the team needs some help at outside linebacker. Thankfully there is someone that could end that trend of overlooking the linebacker spot in the first round this year.
Alec Ogletree, Linebacker
What sticks out most about Ogletree is his athleticism. He played safety as a freshman and could probably still pull it off today if needed, even at his current weight. Coverage is a real plus for this kid as he is terrific sitting on underneath routes in a zone and breaking on the ball at the right time. Ogletree still possesses some power and strength despite being so adept at dropping into coverage. This allow him to really deliver the blow when tackling and he likes to attack the football in hopes of creating a turnover when he gets there. Fluidity of movement and a real burst in straight line speed are also coveted assets in a 4-3 linebacker that Ogletree fits perfectly.
While he is strong, Ogletree struggles to get off of blocks at the second level by offensive linemen. He also tends to get out of position by over-pursuing on a lot of plays and losing gap integrity which compromises the entire defense. His safety background shows through as he is more of a hitter than a tackler, not really wrapping up properly on many occasions leading to some unnecessary missed tackles. Obviously the big drawback is the off-field concerns with Ogletree. Most recently he was arrested on DUI just prior to the Scouting Combine, but he also was suspended the first four games of the 2012 season due to a failed drug test.
WHY DOES HE FIT?
Clearly Ogletree would fit because he fills an immediate need, but also because his skill set is a perfect complement to the players currently on the team’s depth chart. The Rams have not shown any type of shyness when it comes to drafting players with a bit of a troubled past. See: Janoris Jenkins. Head Coach Jeff Fisher feels that he can harness the good in a promising athlete and GM Snead affords him with the opportunity to work his magic.
Given all the holes that the Rams filled in free agency, it wouldn’t be a shocker to see them give Ogletree a long, hard look with either of their first round picks. He is one of the team’s scheduled pre-draft visits so this could be the perfect first round marriage come April 25th.