Hello Giants fans! I hope everyone's doing well. We keep getting closer and closer to the draft and I know that the anticipation is very high around here on BBV. Today I wanted to look at a player who I haven't really been sold on as of late, Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree. Despite my doubts, I have really wanted to look deeper into Ogletree's game because although there are a few character concerns and questions about his ability to get off blocks at an NFL level, there are many aspects of his game that could turn him into a home run pick in this year's draft. First of all he has insane sideline to sideline speed, and being a former safety he has natural ability in coverage. Also I don't want to be completely close-minded to any prospect that we may possibly look at in the first. I have been in the past, and it resulted in me being upset when we took Jason Pierre-Paul with our first-round pick. This is the same reason I thought about doing a breakdown (and still might) of West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin.
Looks like he's damn near decapitating the poor guy here. Attitude is one thing I'd like to have back on the Giants defense.
Height/Weight: 6-foot-2, 242 pounds
Arm Length: 33 1/2"
Bench Press: 20 reps
40 Time: 4.7 seconds (Combine)
This is an area that I have to bring up when talking about Ogletree. Whether you like him a a prospect or not, you can't deny his ability to constantly be around the ball. In his senior season with the Bulldogs, Ogletree racked up 111 tackles. A number that's even more impressive when you consider he missed the first four games of Georgia's season. There were only two games where Ogletree didn't have double digit tackle numbers, and those games he still had six and eight tackles respectively. Throw in three sacks, five pass breakups, and an interception and you can make the case that Ogletree was the most productive player on his teams defense, despite also having Jarvis Jones and some other talented players on that side of the ball.
But speaking of those other players on Georgia's defense, you have to consider the argument that Ogletree was successful due to players that surrounded him. Yes, he did have two massive defensive tackles in front of him in Geathers and Jenkins. Yes teams were probably worried about stopping Jarvis Jones and his amazing pass rushing abilities. And yes teams may have been afraid to throw at the defensive backfield of Georgia, which included Sanders Commings and Baccari Rambo. Georgia did have a very formidable defense, no denying it, but at the same time I'm willing to debunk the idea that they were the main reason for all of Ogletree's production. And this is coming from a guy who is admittedly not an Ogletree fan. I don't care what defense he's on, whether it be the '85 Bears, '86 Giants, or 2000 Ravens, you don't put up 111 tackles in 10 games without having high instincts, a lot of athleticism, and the overall makings of a very good/great football player. If anything it can be argued that Ogletree should have been overshadowed by the other names on his defense, yet he was still able to shine on a star studded team.
The Red Flags
I'd be in the wrong not to mention the character concerns that come with Ogletree. The first thing that needs mentioning is why Ogletree missed the first four games of his final year with Georgia. Both he and Baccari Rambo tested positive on their drug tests at the beginning of the season, resulting in dual four game suspensions. This isn't helped by what Ogletree did right before the Combine, getting busted for a DUI. When Reese is looking at Ogletree, both of these situations have to be highlighted in bright yellow. Not only does it show a troubling past as far as the use of drugs/alcohol, but the untimeliness of both events has to be concerning as well. Drug charges right before the start of his senior season, and then a DUI charge right before the biggest interview of a draft prospect's life, the Combine. No doubt that must raise more than a few eyebrows in the Giant's front office.
Now to be fair Reese has taken his fair share of players with rocky pasts. Ahmad Bradshaw, Jayron Hosely, Marvin Austin, and Mario Manningham all came with their share of red flags, and notice that most of those guys were second- or third-round picks. While those guys were also slated to go a round earlier than what they did before their off field problems, it shows that if Reese believes a guy has enough talent combined with the ability to turn his life around, he will roll the dice. Now lets get to the actual on the field stuff!
If you're looking at a MIKE linebacker (which I think is what most people would want Ogletree to be if he became a Giant), you're looking at the guy who should be captaining the defense. The very first thing a MIKE in a 4-3 defense has to to is be able to make calls/adjustments, get his guys in position to make the defense effective, and to notice and call out offensive tendencies or strategies.
As far as the stance is concerned, you want your MIKE (and all your Linebackers really) with their feet about shoulders width apart, knees bent, back straight, hands off the knees/thighs (a pet peeve of my old DC) and eyes in the backfield of the offense. The defense is reactionary, so a Linebacker keeping their eyes in the backfield provides a slight edge for the defense. It allows the Linebacker to react quicker and know how the play is going to shake out within the first second or two. It's not the linebacker's job to recognize pulls, that should be called out by the D-Line as to give their linebackers a heads up.
During the Play
Linebackers have a lot to do throughout the course of a play. The very first thing is they have to take their read step. Depending on which offensive player they are watching (or which gap they are assigned to protect, depends on the defense), that is the direction that the Linebacker will take their first step towards. Say Ogletree is watching the offense, and recognizes that the play is flowing towards the defense's right side, he will then take his reactionary read step to the right, not so much as to cause over pursuit but enough to keep him in the play if it ends up not being a counter and going out that way. If the play is a counter, it should be easy for Ogletree to adjust his foot placement and work himself back into position to make the tackle.
Now lets say that it's a pass play. Linebackers should always be a bit hesitant on pass plays, first checking to make sure it's not a delay/draw hand off to the running back. If a Linebacker drops back into coverage too soon, it leaves a good 5-8 yards for the running back to gash the defense if he gets past the D-Line. Now if everything checks out and it is a pass, it comes down to whether the defense is in man or zone. In man, the Linebacker will probably pick up a tight end or a Running Back. This could send them all over the field, from staying in the middle to rushing out to the flats to going all the way down field. All depends on the route. In zone though you'll see the Linebacker simply drop into his "zone" (which is just his piece of the field to protect) and guard against any player that happens to come into his space. Now with our Tampa 2 that changes a bit. What we would see Ogletree do is drop back a little deeper and work on taking away both seams from the quarterback. This gives the Linebacker more ground to cover, which is why the Tampa 2 MIKE is usually on the more athletic side. In the Tampa 2 the MIKE will either drop back to the side of the field with more Receivers on it, or if the offense is balanced, will start out his coverage based on the Quarterback's throwing arm. So if there is a Receiver in the seam, the MIKE has to diagnose that the QB is going there, make his break on the ball, and hopefully break up or intercept the pass. This means that if there are receivers in both seams, the MIKE should cheat towards the one that is compatible with the QB's throwing arm until the QB makes a decision. Once the QB's hand comes off the ball and he's aimed in one direction, the MIKE has to break to wherever the QB is throwing an hope he's got the closing speed to help against that pass.
0:00 - 0:08: Run play to the defenses left, Olgetree reads and steps right, but doesn't recover quick enough and gets a blocker on him, runner counters and goes to the outside. Not a great play.
0:09 - 0:15: Run play, Ogletree reads it right and seems to be ready to step up and make the play. Gets a bit caught up by a low block and the play goes by him.
0:16 - 0:22: Run play to the inside, Ogletree reads it perfectly, ducks inside a block, and wraps up to make the tackle. Very solid play.
0:23 - 0:30: Initially looks like a pass from the shotgun, but Ogletree quickly recognizes it as a quick shuttle to the RB, gets off a block and comes up to help make the play.
0:31 - 0:39: Reads a run to the D's left, begins pursuing the RB, but realizes too late that it's a PA bootleg. If Ogletree recognizes the fake earlier he's possibly in position to drop back and make a play on the ball. But it's a good fake.
0:40 - 1:01: Ogletree reads an inside run, and he's correct, yet he doesn't react quick enough. His read step isn't crisp and he doesn't flow in the direction of the play quickly enough to get in the hole and plug it up. Would have been tough to do since No. 59 shoots the B gap and kind of leaves that side of the field open.
1:02 - 1:10: Reads the inside run, does a good job reacting to it, and while he doesn't really seem to make a tackle and kind of just falls down, he's there to help clog up the hole and allow someone else to clean up. Good enough for me there.
1:11 - 1:19: Ogletree is split out towards the inside WR on his side, but keeps his eyes and hips in the backfield of the offense. Drifts out slightly towards the WR, but watches for how the play develops. QB throws away from Ogletree and there isn't much he can do here.
1:20 - 1:27: The run goes to the D's right, which where Ogletree is positioned on this play is away from him. Still, Ogletree angles towards the sideline in pursuit and guesses pretty correctly, coming close to having the tackle for himself if not for a last-minute blocker.
1:28 - 1:38: It's a QB draw here, and I'm not quite sure what Ogletree is doing. He seems to recognize the draw quickly, but doesn't really do anything about it for a while. Maybe there are too many blockers there for him to really see where the QB is, or maybe he's worried about getting caught up in the wash and having the QB come out the other side. Either way, he doesn't seem too interested on this play.
1:39 - 1:44: A fake hand off, QB keeper here on this one. Ogletree doesn't over pursue on the fake and stays at home. The QB begins to go towards a hole, which Ogletree fills, and then cuts back to the hole that Ogletree left open. Ogletree shouldn't have bit on the QB's direction so quickly, if he hadn't he would have had a very nice play there.
1:45 - 1:50: Ogletree starts close to the LOS on this one, recognizes the inside run and is pretty much in position to make the play. Someone else grabs the runner first though.
1:51 - 1:58: Ogletree comes off the edge on a blitz here, smashing into the tackle and not really making too much progress. The pocket does collapse, though, and the QB takes off in the other direction.
1:59 - 2:04: It's a run to the inside, Ogletree reads it well and steps up quickly to make a nice play on the runner. Solid job.
2:05 - 2:11: Ogletree reads the run first, then recognizes the pass. Finds a man to pick up in coverage and sticks with him. This takes away the QB's safety/check down option and allows the Georgia D to get the sack.
2:12 - 2:18: Here's where everyone's problem with Ogletree is. He does not get off blocks well. Sometimes he'll slip them, but he won't get physical with a blocker. He gets pushed down field on this play, and it's embarrassing. Ogletree even TURNS HIS BACK on the blocker, and in turn the play. This is a big no-no. Not to mention it's a TE that's blocking him. Awful play, and something that is in desperate need of work.
2:19 - 2:27: Plays the run first, recognizes the pass, and drops back into coverage. Solid job in coverage and the QB takes it deep, away from Ogletree.
2:28 - 2:36: Another example of not getting off blocks. Ogletree keeps getting pushed farther down field until he finally slips off and makes a tackle 10 yards after the fact. Bleh.
2:37 - 2:45: Initially sets up on the inside, but the shifts to the edge and tries to blitz off it. Gets blocked and doesn't really do much of anything as the RB takes it upfield.
2:46 - 3:00: Ogletree is lined up against the bunch formation with his eyes in the backfield. Sees the screen and tries to fight through his block to get to it. Turns into a trick play that confuses all of Georgia's D and goes for a long ways.
3:01 - 3:06: Recognizes the pass play and realizes there is a man coming over the middle towards him. Does a good job flowing to the Receiver and forcing the QB to go to the sidelines.
3:07 - 3:13: I think Ogletree realizes it's a QB keeper here and thinks it's going all the way to the outside. Instead it goes to the interior and by the time Ogletree makes up for his slight over pursuit, he is getting blocked and the runner gets inside for the TD.
3:14 - 3:20: On a read option type play here the QB recognizes that Ogletree is pursuing the runner and keeps it for himself to go to the inside. Doesn't get far though because Ogletree doesn't over-pursue and there are a lot of Bulldogs there to stop him.
3:21 - 3:27: Ogletree shifts to the outside and comes off the edge fast and unblocked. Seems like he would take the runner down from behind but the play appears to be blown dead.
3:28 - 3:36: Receivers release out but Ogletree stays put for the run. Seems like Ogletree would have made the tackle too but I'm of the opinion that No. 80 got away with holding on that one.
3:37 - 3:44: Recognizes the pass here and drops a few yards into coverage. Does a good job and the QB goes away from Ogletree.
3:45 - 3:52: Very nice play here. Ogletree sees the pitch, slices through a bunch of bodies and does a great job of wrapping up and bringing the runner down. That's very good vision and instincts on Ogletree's part.
3:53 - 4:00: I think this is a blitz on Ogletree's part, because he seems not to care about the WR's and the play isn't sold as a bootleg. Good job of getting a bit of pressure on the QB and jumping up just in case it's a low thrown ball.
4:01 - 4:11: Diagnoses the run and tries to come up on it, but it appears that he just gets smashed backwards by a block here. Should be able to absorb the hit and stand his ground.
4:12 - 4:17: Comes off the edge on a blitz and gets picked up by the RB.
4:18 - 4:24: Appears to try playing the inside hand off and the outside QB keeper at the same time, and ends up getting caught in the wash here.
4:25 - 4:32: Reads the play to make sure it's a pass, and then drops back and picks up his WR. Pass goes underneath and is incomplete.
4:33 - 4:41: Does a good job staying with the inside run and ends up making the tackle here.
4:42 - 4:48: Ogletree stays in his gap here and actually seems to square up on the blocker. I wouldn't say he wins this battle, but he stalemates the blocker just enough to cause a clog in the play, allowing a number of defenders to converge on the ball. This needs to be a regular thing for Ogletree.
4:49 - 4:56: Pass play, but Ogletree checks out the run first. Then he drops back and covers his ground. Ball goes to a different zone, though.
4:57 - 5:06: Reacts well to the toss here, works down the line and avoids getting a blocker on him. Looks like he's going to angle up the sideline, but then he shoots in and helps clean up the play.
5:07 - 5:27: Initially Ogletree plays this well, recognizes the pass and slides into coverage with the man coming across the middle. A hole opens up in the defensive front though and the QB takes off. It's too late for Ogletree to change direction and the QB runs by.
5:28 - 5:33: Ogletree does a good job here not biting on the fake pass and dropping back too far. He sees the QB coming up on a designed run and recovers, coming forward and wrapping him up by his legs for the tackle.
5:34 - 5:59: Really nice play by Ogletree here. It appears the play is to the D's right. Ogletree reacts appropriately and takes his read step towards the play, but doesn't over-pursue. This allows him to recognize the reverse and then in turn reverse his direction back to the left. With his other two teammates preventing the runner from going anywhere, Ogletree zooms up and makes a big play. I liked the forward aggressiveness here.
6:00 - 6:04: Inside handoff here, Ogletree maintains his gap and slides off a block. Runner gets taken down early.
6:05 - 6:11: Ogletree shoots up into the gap on a blitz this play, seeming to go completely by the run, which went to a different gap. Oh well.
6:12 - 6:17: There's an initial fake blitz here, which results in Ogletree dropping back into coverage and blanketing his man. The QB decides to go elsewhere.
6:18 - 6:28: The play is read as a pass, which it is, and Ogletree sits back in coverage until he notices the QB start to scramble. He comes up in pursuit and chooses an angle that helps for the QB out of bounds.
6:29 - 6:35: The run play to the D's far left has Ogletree taking an useless angle towards the sidelines. Looks like a blocker might have gotten a piece of him too. Not much happening here.
6:36 - 6:43: Ogletree reads the option that's going to his right, and takes the Running Back as he should. Just happens that the rest of their defense did their jobs very well and shut down the play before it gets to Ogletree's level.
6:44 - 6:51: On this pass play Ogletree comes off the edge as a rusher, not really getting any pressure on the QB.
6:52 - 7:02: Run play to the D's left, which Ogletree reads and reacts to appropriately. He also manages to slide off a blocker and pursue the runner down the line. Doesn't seem to be involved in the tackle or the fumble, though.
7:03 - 7:24: It's tough to gauge what really happens on this play. From what I can see, Ogletree flows the direction that the runner is going, but can't find the gap he's supposed to be filling. You can see on the replay that he hesitates, and then keeps going left. Even with the hesitation Ogletree seems to over-pursue slightly. Give the runner his due though, he made a lot happen in a very limited amount of space. Almost seemed to slide underneath the line and mass of bodies.
7:25 - 7:34: Ogletree is back in prevent D coverage, and he helps make the tackle on an underneath route that wasn't going anywhere to begin with.
[Ogletree Prospect Profile -- Jesse Bartolis]
I went into this film study with Ogletree not being a guy I really wanted to take at No. 19 this year. I was nowhere near as high on him as ESPN's Todd McShay is or our very own Jesse Bartolis is for that matter. And while I'm not putting him at the top of my favorite prospects list, I do admit he has moved up considerably. I stand by the idea that he can't escape from blocks. That much is evident. But what he's not given credit for is the ability to slip off of blocks, or maneuver around them. Ogletree has a slippery quality to him that allows him to almost bend his body and shoulders around blocks, avoiding the brunt of contact. This makes me think that he's not a MIKE at the NFL level, but either a SAM or WILL, most likely WILL so as to avoid more contact.
I know that OLB's in a 4-3 defense usually aren't of high value, but the Giants are in a peculiar situation. The Giants need OLB's that can defense against the run and protect quick passes. Invictus proposed having two freak OLB's to stop teams like the Redskins, yet his proposed player in this situation was usually Dion Jordan. In this scenario Ogletree would be the WILL and Jacquian Williams would play SAM. I also know that Raptor and a few others have talked about drafting Ogletree as a WILL with the intention of moving him to MIKE, and I don't think that will work. It would be taking away from his overall skill set. If the Giants were to bring on Ogletree, I'd want to use him as an exclusive WILL. Letting him protect the backside and sneak in to make plays from the back with side to side speed would turn him into a big time play-maker on our defense. He'd also be great as a third down passing linebacker. People don't seem to pass on Ogletree. He excels at pass defense. He also has the speed and change of direction to possible keep up with the likes of RG3 when he takes off and scrambles.
Now if Ogletree were to play MIKE, I'd say we'd be best off if we put some huge run stoppers in front of him and kept him very clean. When blocks did leak to him either he'd have to learn how to use his hands at a much higher level, or he'd have to be able to slide off blocks quickly enough to get back to the middle of the field and fill his gap properly. That's a tall order to fill. An advantage to Ogletree playing MIKE though would be the coverage ability he could offer. With his sideline to sideline range he could cover both seams easily, just like the prototypical Tampa 2 MIKE should be able to do.
While there are prospects I would prefer before Ogletree, I'm not as opposed to taking him as I was before hand. If the Giants were able to find a run stuffing MIKE for the long term, another Jon Goff perhaps, we'd have an amazing trio of linebackers. Two athletes on the edge with the ability to counteract quick offenses, and a thumper of a MIKE in the middle. Any thoughts on Ogletree and his potential as a Giant?