So with the No. 23 pick in the Rant Sports 2013 NFL Mock Draft, the Vikings have selected Georgia’s Alec Ogletree, arguably this year’s top inside linebacker.
While the team is willing to give second-year linebacker Audie Cole an opportunity to win the starting gig, there’s a good chance that the Vikings will use one of their two first-round picks (No. 22 and No. 25) on a middle linebacker to compete for the top slot. That’s where Ogletree comes in.
Ogletree is a ferocious, instinctive linebacker who uses his athleticism and nose for the ball to make plays all over the field. With impressive speed and short-range quickness, Ogletree does a great job of flying around and wreaking havoc on opposing offenses. His impressive instincts, athleticism and playmaking abilities make him an ideal candidate to fill the Vikings’ void at middle linebacker.
A big plus with Ogletree is his natural abilities in coverage, something that the Vikings expect from their starting middle linebackers. Originally recruited to Georgia as a safety, he made the move to linebacker and proved throughout his college career that he can make a difference when dropping back.
There is some concern surrounding whether he can handle himself off of the field at the next level, though. Ogletree missed the first four games of the 2012 season while serving a suspension for violating team rules. Still, he returned and racked up 98 tackles on the year. With a strong locker room and GM Rick Spielman focused on filling the roster with high-character players, there will be a plethora of players willing to keep Ogletree on the straight path.
The Vikings need a dynamic linebacker who can help their defense excel moving forward. If he’s available at No. 23 on April 25, Ogletree is a perfect fit.