After maneuvering up the draft board in April to snag Tavon Austin, the team traded back from its other spot to the 30th overall selection in hopes that they could land the talented Georgia product. Several teams had moved Ogletree down their draft boards or completely off of them due to his off-field concerns, but the Rams have shown a propensity to roll the dice on guys with talent in need of a little direction.
Sure enough those issues pushed a top-10 talent into their laps at the end of round one, and now the team has a potential starter for the upcoming season. According to kmov in St. Louis, first year defensive coordinator Tim Walton has high hopes for the youngster early on. Walton said:
“He’s good athlete. He’s a playmaker. He’s young, he has a lot to learn, but we have veteran leadership over there also. He’s a guy that’s athletic, can run around, still has a lot to learn, but explosive and is a playmaker. Hopefully, he can carry that over to Sundays.”
An added perk with Ogletree is that he’s actually a converted safety so coverage is his forte. Unlike most linebackers who would rather go forward and tackle, Ogletree is more than comfortable in coverage on a regular basis. That will mesh very well with their other two veterans in James Laurinaitis and Jo-Lonn Dunbar who were tackling machines last season.
His skill set will also fit in well with the team’s personnel – or lack thereof – in the secondary as the safety position is very much in flux. Ogletree is more than capable of covering athletic tight ends in space which makes him a valuable commodity as a tight end neutralizer in today’s NFL. Walton actually touched on that subject as well as he said:
“He’s going against ‘Cookie’ (Jared Cook) every day, so he’s getting good work. Offense is throwing a lot of stuff at us, so that makes us have really to prepare. We brought him in to be the guy. Hopefully, he keeps learning and keeps growing. He has a very good work ethic. He studies the game, practices well, and the thing about it is the offense does such a good job, he goes against good competition.”
Cook is one of the toughest matchups in the entire league which is why the Rams recruited him to their side in the coming season. If Ogletree has experience going against one of the best on a daily basis he should be up for anything from week to week.
St. Louis has been wise to add some depth to the linebacking corps in veteran Will Witherspoon earlier in July, but it seems like the plan is to give Ogletree first-team reps. If that plan comes together like the club’s blueprint during the 2013 NFL Draft, the upcoming season could be a beautiful thing to watch for Rams fans.