Many people have marveled over the potential star that the St. Louis Rams landed in the 2013 NFL Draft when they traded up to select wide receiver Tavon Austin out of West Virginia. While Austin has the potential to be an absolute terror for opposing defenses over the next decade, the team also found another playmaker of a different variety in round one.
Linebacker Alec Ogletree could easily be the more important of these two first round selections when all is said and done. In an NFL that is trending toward the dynamic, game-changing athlete at the tight end position, teams are more and more desperate for ways to match up with these players defensively. Ogletree has the potential to neutralize the game’s most versatile weapons now and in the future for the Rams.
As a converted safety, he offers the speed to stick with the athleticism that even the fleetest of foot have to offer at the tight end position while his bulk and strength allow him to compete with the more stout of the bunch as well. At 6’2” 242lbs. Ogletree can provide the blueprint for what teams will eventually covet in the future to try and counteract what the trendy offenses around the league are doing. He will be especially effective in the NFC West where the Rams face the San Francisco 49ers and the dangerous Vernon Davis twice a year.
The fact that the Rams upgraded the offensive line via free agency with the signing of Jake Long freed the team up to take a bit of a risk on a player like Ogletree after trading back in round one. That decision could turn out to benefit the club twofold with Long protecting the franchise investment in quarterback Sam Bradford and the luxury pick of Ogletree negating opposing tight ends for years to come.
In the end, the linebacker that the Rams moved back in the draft order to select hasn’t been the most talked about of their draft choices, but he could wind up being just as effective as those garnering all of the ink. St. Louis harnessed the personal issues that many teams feared from Janoris Jenkins a year ago and they were handsomely rewarded for that risk. There’s no reason to believe that Jeff Fisher and company can’t keep Ogletree on the straight and narrow now that he is a part of the Rams locker room.