Oct 27, 2012; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Jarvis Jones (29) and Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Alec Ogletree (9) sack Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel (6) in the second half at EverBank Field. The Bulldogs won 17-9. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Other Rams First Round Draft Pick: Alec Ogletree

Ever since the Rams drafted Tavon Austin at number eight it seems like people are forgetting all about the player that they picked up in the first round at number 30. Alec Ogletree has almost been forgotten about since the draft. It’s understandable however, Tavon Austin is the first playmaker the Rams have had in years and Ogletree is just a player on defense that could be a difference maker.

Les Snead and Jeff Fisher had to be having a party in the war room when Alec Ogletree fell into their lap at 30. The Rams traded down from 22 to 30, and somehow, the guy they wanted still happened to be on the board when they were on the clock again. Alec Ogletree will more than likely play on the strong side while Jo-Lonn Dunbar will move over to the weak side. Ogletree could be one of the best steals in the first round by taking Ogletree at 30. Ogletree is a top 15 maybe top 10 talent, but after getting into some legal troubles, his draft stock fell because teams were worried about his off the field issues. The Rams took a chance on another player last year named Janoris Jenkins who has worked out pretty well. The Rams hope Ogletree will do the same.

For quite a while now the Rams defense hasn’t had the speed to catch speedy running backs on the outside. Dunbar helped solve half the problem last season, however the Rams now have to deal with two speedy quarterbacks named Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. Last season the Rams played three quarterbacks who ran the “read-option”, Kaepernick, RGIII, and Wilson. In 5 games the Rams allowed 304 yards rushing on 45 carries which is an average of over 6 yards per carry. The Rams shut down Russell Wilson pretty well, but Kaepernick and Griffin III had success. Ogletree will bring much needed speed to the outside and will hopefully help shut down the read-option that gave all defenses troubles last season.

What makes Ogletree even more valuable is that not only can he tackle like a linebacker, but he has experience playing safety which makes him reliable in coverage. With tight ends becoming so successful catching the football the last few years, it has become even more important to have linebackers that can cover well. The Rams play Vernon Davis, on of the best tight ends in the league, twice a year. Ogletree should give Vernon Davis headaches in coverage next season.

If Ogletree can stay out of trouble and works out, the Rams could have one of the best, if not the best front seven in the league and assure them a top 10 defense. Ogletree adds speed, toughness, and reliability in coverage to an already good defense that is only missing a few pieces to an elite group. Ogletree will be wearing the number 52, the same number that Mike Jones wore when he tackled Kevin Dyson at the one yard line in super bowl 34. If Ogletree ever makes a tackle as big as that one, the teams that passed on him due to his off the field issues will be shaking their heads.

 

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