For many New York Giants fans, many of their fondest memories revolve around watching a group of dominating linebackers run around the field making plays. For the younger fans, many Giants fan say "there are teams in the league that have good linebacker play? I don't believe it." Today we use our 2013 NFL Draft prospect profile to look at a potential a first-round linebacker prospect, one of my personal favorites in the draft, when we take a look at Alec Ogletree of Georgia.
Excuse me in advance if I drool on my keyboard.
Unique athlete at the linebacker position. He possess terrific straight line speed. Even though, Ogletree could improve his strength, he plays violently. He's a super productive player, despite missing four games he racked up 111 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and broke up five passes while intercepting one. Ogletree has nearly unparalleled range and, as a former safety prospect he is good in coverage now, but has the potential to be terrific in coverage. Does a good job of going for the strip while also tackling the ball carrier. He has terrific length with the potential to develop into a good pass rusher as long as he works on using his hands and length more effectively.
Even though he plays violently he can get engulfed by offensive linemen when they reach the second level. He was suspended the early part of the season by the team. Can he play inside linebacker in all systems? Sometimes he wastes too many steps (basically he's thinking too much before he's reacting and needs to continue to be coached up), and he can over-pursue plays.
Player comparison: Thomas Davis (NFL.com)
Me: Daryl Washington, Arizona Cardinals. Washington has been a terrific player for the Cardinals making plays in all three facets of the game.
I'm going to throw out a few more lofty names in terms of his athletic ability and size (because I think he can add 15 more pounds and still play with similar speed -- Brian Urlacher, and Lavar Arrington ... one of these guys was a pretty good NFL player the other is an all-time great. I'm just trying to illustrate through comparison how special of an athlete Ogletree is).
Does He Fit With The Giants?
If the Giants drafted Ogletree he would be without question the most physically gifted linebacker on the team immediately. The two questions are do the Giants value the linebacker position enough to spend their first (most likely) or possibly their second-round pick on him? And the other question is do they think he can play middle linebacker or would they they put him in the logjam at weak-side linebacker?
For me, Ogletree's size (listed at 6-foot-3,234 pounds right now), length, and tendency to play violently (even though he can get over-powered) is good enough to develop into a terrific middle linebacker. I further think that in any system that plays a lot of cover two snaps, Ogletree is a difference-maker in pass coverage because he can get to the deep middle of the field -- like Urlacher.
Both of these are from the man, the myth, the legend of cutting prospect videos @jmpasq
Big Board Rankings
CBS Sports - 24th
National Football Post - 14th
Mocking the Draft - 38th
Sports Illustrated - 13th
Big Blue View Board - 11th
I tried to avoid hyperbole in this post, but I really, really do think Alec Ogletree has the potential to be a very special player. It would not surprise me at all if Ogletree ended up being the best player in this draft three years from now. I think he has THAT much potential. Now, he's 11th on my board for a couple of reasons. First, he was suspended four games (reportedly for violating the substance abuse policy twice -- I can't confirm that), so that's an issue. Secondly, while there are many times where Ogletree flashes the ability to take on a blocker, disengage and make the play he doesn't do it consistently and he can get eaten up by blockers, which does raise the question of whether or not he's a middle linebacker or a weak-side linebacker. But with that being said, I think Ogletree would excel in Perry Fewell's system.
Ogletree has the potential to be 2013 nfl draftan impact blitzing linebacker as well as a guy in coverage. Also, if the line can keep Ogletree clean he'll make a ton of plays in the backfield.
Ogletree, to me, is a "boom or bust" prospect because he has legitimate concerns, but his abilities are so unique. I trust the Giants front office to do the necessary background work, and coach Tom Coughlin and his staff to develop players long term. If the Giants are comfortable with Ogletree (and if he's even available) and they select him No. 19 I'll be very happy.
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