Heading into his second year in the NFL, the St. Louis Rams second 1st-round selection from the 2013 NFL Draft will be looking to improve on a fabulous rookie campaign. Alec Ogletree, a safety-to-linebacker convert out of the University of Georgia, struggled early in the year last season, especially versus the run and in coverage. However, as the season progressed, so did the stud outside linebacker, finishing the year on a strong streak of performances, overshadowed by Robert Quinn’s chase for the Deacon Jones Award.
Earlier in the week, Jeff Fisher was quoted as saying, “We expect more production out of [Ogletree]. He made the big plays and he’s got the big play potential”. While it is typical coach’s speak to expect more from all of the players on the roster, especially their stars, in some cases it may not be a realistic.
In terms of “production” on the field, Ogletree was arguably one of the top outside linebackers in the NFL last year. The rookie sensation dethroned James Laurinaitis for the “tackle title,” leading the St. Louis Rams with 117 combined tackles. More impressively, Ogletree ranked 3rd overall in the league among outside linebackers in solo tackles, 9th in battled passes, 7th overall in pass deflections, 8th overall in defensive stops, and 3rd overall among all players in forced fumbles. He also recorded the longest interception return of the 2013 season, topping off a truly statistically dominant year.
So, is asking for “more production” from Alec Ogletree a realistic expectation?
Well, if you take the term “production” at it’s literal meaning, it would be hard to imagine Ogletree boosting much higher from his 94 solo tackles, 47 defensive stops, and six forced fumbles from last season.
However, there is no doubt that Alec Ogletree has not even begun to scratch the surface of his potential as a linebacker in the NFL. There is certainly room for improvement in several aspects of his game, especially in coverage, where his 654 yards after the catch, 82.8% catch rate, and 107.1 passer rating allowed were some of the worst figures in the league. Moreover, in terms of big play potential, with only one interception and no fumble recoveries under his belt, he could easily top his rookie number in those areas, as well. Lastly, he could surely afford to take a bite from his 19 missed tackles last season, which ranked Top 5 among outside linebackers.
Regardless of his actual end-of-the-season numbers, most in Rams Nation are expecting more out of Alec Ogletree in 2014, even if that doesn’t necessarily translate into career-highs across the board. However, if, at the end of the day, Ogletree can beat out his 2013 statistics, we doubt anyone will mind…
Tags: St. Louis Rams