Much hullabaloo was made about Tavon Austin’s potential impact in his rookie season with the St. Louis Rams coming into the 2013 NFL season, but another first rounder was often overlooked for the squad. Linebacker Alec Ogletree was pretty much an afterthought for many after the Rams made their maneuvers in the draft this past spring, but he’s been anything but forgettable on the field this season.
Though he has still had the general rookie inconsistency in his play at times, Ogletree has been a huge asset to what has been a relatively disappointing defense in St. Louis for the most part. In fact according to the coaches’ review of game tape, the rookie out of Georgia has actually made 121 tackles this season. Amazingly that currently ranks him one take down ahead of fellow linebacker James Laurinaitis who has led the Rams in tackles in each of his four seasons in the league up until this point.
What’s been most impressive about Ogletree is the way he has gotten better and better each week of his short career thus far. That is clearly illustrated by his performance in the past three games with 15, 12, and 12 tackles, respectively. He is clearly doing his best to reach the best of his abilities, but his recent play isn’t even what sticks out the most about this impressive athlete. His coach Jeff Fisher told Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“Each week he does something that surprises you. You say, ‘wow’ on a positive side. Yeah, he’s making a lot of plays.”
Nowhere was that anymore evident than earlier this season when Ogletree picked off a Matt Schaub pass against the Houston Texans and returned it 98 yards the other way for a touchdown. He has made impact plays by forcing turnovers a regular thing with four forced fumbles on the season, and just this past week against the Arizona Cardinals he recorded his first sack.
Obviously there is still some maturation to come in his game in terms of consistency, but Ogletree is well on his way to breaking down those walls. He clearly hasn’t waned in terms of production at a time when most rookies are tiring out after making the adjustment from the shorter collegiate season to the lengthy 17-week NFL version.
Although he may have been the forgotten man from the Rams’ rookie class of 2013 coming into the season, it seems safe to say that he won’t be slipping the minds of fans anytime soon.