He runs a sub 4.5, fellas. Good luck. - Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Battle Red Blog takes a look at the 2013 NFL Draft prospect with the biggest distance between his ceiling and floor, Georgia LB Alec Ogletree.
Weight: 232 lbs.
- Very, very athletic safety/linebacker hybrid.
- Great length and a frame that can hold some more weight.
- Good feet and fluid hips in coverage, especially when playing in man.
- Excellent burst to close on ball carrier and can sustain his great speed downfield with receivers.
- Very hard hitter when he can land a shot.
- Has some good hand usage when blitzing off the edge, but doesn't use it nearly often enough.
- Very light on his feet in the box and can bounce from hole to hole with ease.
- Sometimes locks in a QB in zone coverage before securing the route; needs to float over to his receivers before checking the QB rather than staying stationary and hoping for someone to come to him.
- Huge liability against the run.
- Has neither the technical refinement nor strength to stack and shed properly.
- Lacks the power to plug pulling guards or thicker fullbacks in the hole.
- While he has good feet and balance in coverage, he is somewhat clumsy when working against the run in traffic and doesn't have really have a lot of "twitchiness" when it comes to breaking down ball carriers in open space.
- Regularly takes terrible angles and misses far too many tackles; tries way too hard to land highlight reel hits.
- Has issues with play recognition and decision making at times.
- Is generally only effective and/or reliable when not engaged by blockers.
Alec Ogletree is an interesting prospect to me because I’m not entirely sure what to think. On one hand, he has athleticism to spare and quite possibly a higher ceiling than any other linebacker in this class, but on the other, he is such a raw prospect, with red flags and bust potential written all over his resume. His speed and physical gifts are well documented at this point, as is his safety background, which makes him a reliable defender in coverage. Beyond that, I am left with wanting a lot more than I’m seeing out of such a hyped prospect.
For starters, I’m noticing a lot of technical miscues that you normally wouldn't attribute to a first round pick. Ogletree likes to play on his toes before he breaks to the running back/receiver, presumably to help himself stay light on his feet and make it easier to scrape from hole to hole, but when engaged by blockers, he has a bad habit of staying on his toes rather than turning and planting his anchor foot. Without that extra surface area on the ground, he can’t generate any power and regularly gets blown off the ball by 5-10 yards. Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack, and D.J. Fluker absolutely abused Ogletree in the run game in the SEC Championship Game simply because he stood no chance when he tried to stack up and make a tackle. To compound the issue, Ogletree’s average strength for his lanky frame buckled against tight ends and fullbacks as well, which to me turns him into an exclusively open space defender rather than a box enforcer.
To make matters worse, despite the fact that he fits the athletic profile of a Will backer that contains the edge, rushes the passer, and handles running backs flaring to the sidelines, Ogletree is not a reliable openfield tackler at all. He has the straight line speed to close on receivers quickly to be sure, but his lateral agility is far less impressive, and he had a bad habit of getting juked out of his shoes at least once or twice per game. Ogletree also had a tendency to take very sharp angles and get burned by people turning the corner or bouncing outside. Even more worrisome than all of this, however, is that he tries way too hard to deliver bonecrushing shoulder shots rather than just wrapping up and bringing people down like he learned in Pop Warner. A lot of times, he would either bounce off his target with a glancing blow or completely overrun the ball carrier because he was coming in too fast, wanting to deliver the kill shot and didn't leave himself any room to break down and wrap up. This problem is coachable, of course, but it’s going to take a lot of work before I consider him a reliable starter quality linebacker in the NFL.
The other "biggest" technical flaw that I saw in Ogletree is that he almost never has his hands up. Whether sifting through traffic or playing man-to-man on a receiver, it’s a good bet that his hands are down at his waist and not being used to jam receivers or keep blockers at bay. At times linemen could do whatever they wanted to Ogletree because they could get their hands on him and escort him all up and down the field without him offering up so much as a slight jab in their direction. When meeting blockers on the second level, it was not uncommon to see Ogletree forgo stacking entirely in favor of just shouldering a pulling guard and hoping he stumbles backwards. At only 230 lbs., obviously that idea usually didn't work out too well.
Can Ogletree be a good linebacker in the NFL? Absolutely. Will he? That much I’m not entirely sold on yet. You show me a guy that runs fast and I’ll show you someone who can’t stack, can’t tackle, bites on play-action, gets tunnel vision in zone, takes bad angles, and generally can’t be relied upon right now to do anything at an NFL level beyond cover tight ends in man coverage. I sincerely believe that his stock has benefited a lot from having NFL talents like Jarvis Jones, Jon Jenkins, Kwame Geathers, Bacarri Rambo, and Sanders Commings on that Geogia defense; they could cover for his weaknesses against inferior competition. He won’t get that same benefit in the NFL, where I can almost guarantee there will be an endless stream of counters, whams, and traps specifically designed to put him against a guard on the second level. When his defensive line can keep him clean enough to make plays, it’s tough not to be wowed his athleticism and gigantic hits, but "has to be clean" is a pretty hard stipulation for me to swallow for a supposed first round pick. Right now he’s a developmental prospect to me at the 4-3 Will position with the potential to be a world-beating linebacker. Based on athletic ability alone, I could see a team looking towards the future spending a mid to late second rounder on him. For teams looking for immediate starters, I can’t in good faith recommend Ogletree before the third round. He has all the potential in the world, but right now that’s all it is – potential.