Despite his lofty draft position and impressive all-around numbers, there are few outside of St. Louis that would consider Alec Ogletree a “household name.” That lack of publicity is largely the culprit for Ogletree not being in the discussion for Defensive Rookie of the Year, especially with players like Sheldon Richardson getting a media boost by playing in the Big Apple. At this point in season, the “final candidates” are essentially locked into place. Right now, most notable analysts will have: Buffalo ILB Kiko Alonso, New York DE Sheldon Richardson, and Carolina DT Star Lotulelei.
The case for each player is not hard to make…
Prior to this weekend, Kiko Alonso was third in the league in tackles, and had 2.0 sacks, 4 interceptions, and a forced fumble to complete a solid, all-around resume; currently ranked 8th overall among inside linebackers, according for Pro Football Focus. Sheldon Richardson has been a force for the highly-touted Jets defensive, currently trailing only J.J. Watt in defensive spots among 3-4 defensive ends and recording an impressive 46 tackles this season. Star Lotulelei is not much of a pass rusher, but has dominated against the run (i.e. 32 defensive stops) and has helped keep offensive linemen off of Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly all season.
However, Alec Ogletree has been impressive in his own right. Prior to the game against the Buccaneers, Alec Ogletree led all rookies, including Kiko Alonso, in solo tackles (86), all rookie linebackers in pass deflections (9), and trailed only Robert Quinn and Robert Mathis league-wide in forced fumbles (4), according to ESPN Stats and Info. The Rams first-rounder is also one of only five rookie defensemen with a defensive touchdown on the season, which just so happened to be a 98-yard interception return.
After yesterday, the case for Ogletree will only get stronger. Against the Buccaneers, he recorded 8 total tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 tackle for a loss, and 2 forced fumbles. Assuming nothing drastic occurs, Ogletree will dethrone James Laurinaitis as the team leader in tackles and will finish the season in the Top 3 for forced fumbles in the league.
Sadly, Kiko Alonso will be the “sexy” pick for the award, despite putting up average numbers since the one-quarter mark of the season. However, the St. Louis Rams and the front office should be ecstatic that their 2013 first-rounder has already turned into one of the better outside linebackers in the NFL.
Tags: St. Louis Rams