Several mock drafts have the New Orleans Saints selecting Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones in the first round. They should really be keeping their eye on another linebacker from Georgia.
Alec Ogletree is the definition of an athletic linebacker. In high school he was a starter on the basketball team, ran the 4×100 relay and 400 meter dash, participated in the long jump, and was a highly regarded safety prospect his senior year.
As a true freshman, he earned the Newcomer of the Year award for his play at the safety position registering 34 tackles in five starts. He moved to linebacker his sophomore year, but missed seven games because of a broken foot. He was still able to finish with 52 tackles.
As a junior he finished with 111 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, and 3.5 sacks. Yeah go ahead and read that again. Georgia’s defense was stacked last year with Jarvis Jones at linebacker, Kwame Geathers and John Jenkins at nose guard, and Sanders Commings and Baccari Rambo in the backfield. How did he register 111 tackles on a star studded defense like that?
Ogletree ‘s diverse athletic experience from high school shows in his defensive play. He has very good instincts on the field and his time at safety gives him an edge at the linebacker position.
Standing at 6-foot-3, he has great length for the linebacker position and is rarely out of position to make a good defensive play. He ran a 4.7 40 at the Combine and has impressive closing speed at 242 pounds. The best thing about his speed is his stamina from playing strong safety and running track, which gives him the ability to make plays all over the field.
Ogletree should be a first round pick, but he hasn’t made it easy on himself. He missed four games after testing positive on his drug test and was busted for a DUI before the NFL Combine. Some are saying that these are character flaws; they’re decision flaws. He is still a young guy and he made some bad decisions. He has said that he is “learning from it and moving forward”.
If there is a flaw in his game, it’s his tendency to make arm tackles and literally grab wherever he can on the ball carrier to bring him down. He could get in trouble with facemask or horse collar penalties in the league if he is not careful.
Ogletree’s past mistakes can’t hide the fact that he is a powerful, quick, instinctive linebacker who can make plays on the field. He is drawing comparisons to Carolina’s Thomas Davis and Atlanta’s Sean Weatherspoon, both solid linebackers on their teams.
If the New Orleans Saints are considering moving back in the first round or even into the second round, Ogletree could turn out to be a solid pickup for Rob Ryan’s defense. The only downside? He will definitely have to get a new jersey number.