The trade for Alec Ogletree by the New York Giants was a welcome one. It signified that the Giants had finally gotten serious about upgrading a position that has been a weakness for too long.
What can the Giants expect from Ogletree in 2018? Let’s break it down as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster.
2017 season in review
Started 15 games for the Los Angeles Rams, with 95 tackles and 2 sacks. Pro Football Focus did not like his work, giving a 38.9 grade, in the “poor” category for qualifying linebackers. That was tied for 75th out of 86 linebackers. The breakdown was as follows:
- Run Grade: 35.9 (88th out of 91 LBs)
- Coverage Grade: 39.1 (68th out of 77 LBs)
In addressing why the Rams were willing to send him to the Giants for fourth- and sixth-round picks, Giants Wire said that in 2017 “Ogletree missed tackles left and right, struggled to take on blocks and hardly had an impact against the run.”
The Giants have high expectations for Ogletree, whom they are asking to fill the critical signal-calling role on their defense.
“We’re very excited to have made the trade for Alec,” general manager Dave Gettleman said when the team acquired him. “He gives us our defensive quarterback. He was a two-time captain with the Rams, voted on by his teammates. He’s a leader, and that’s very important to us. Just as important, he’s a quality three-down MIKE linebacker. We’re just thrilled to have him.”
During mandatory mini-camp in June, Ogletree told reporters that he is “Just a guy that’s going to play full 60 minutes.”
Ogletree isn’t a star. Or, at least he hasn’t been. Here are his Pro Football Focus grades:
First, the Giants seem to want Ogletree to take pressure off the far less experienced B.J. Goodson by calling the defensive signals. As a three-down linebacker, he should be on the field enough to do that.
The Giants may also want Ogletree for what he might do to help their pass rush. He had two sacks last season, and Inside The Pylon argued that ability to blitz is Ogletree’s “best trait.” One which aggressive defensive coordinator James Bettcher should be able to take advantage of. ITP also mentioned “significant concerns” about Ogletree, most of which relate to poor tackling.
NFL players don’t get better at tackling unless they go out and practice it on their own. Current rules don’t really allow for real tackling at any time other than in games.
The belief here is that we will see the full Alec Ogletree experience. Some good pass defense and athletic plays, and we will also see some ugly missed tackles. His leadership and experience should also be a plus, and having Ogletree should be a net gain for the Giants.