Summary: Ogletree would be a top-10 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft if it weren’t for off-the-field character issues. He is an explosive defender who is perfectly suited for the passing-driven NFL.
Ogletree started out his collegiate career at safety before moving to linebacker. He saw his first playing time as a freshman in 2010, recording 34 tackles. There were big expectations for Ogletree in 2011 to become an impact player, but those were put on hold when he broke his foot against Boise State in the season opener. The sophomore came back for the final seven games, producing 52 tackles with 7.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles on the season. He was awesome in the Bowl game against Michigan State with nine tackles, a sack and two passes batted.
2012 didn’t start well either. Ogletree was suspended for the first four games of the year because of a failed drug test. He was excellent after returning to the lineup. Ogletree was a play-maker as a run-defender and was always around the ball. He totaled 111 tackles, 11.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks an interception and five passes broken up in 10 games.
Ogletree further hurt his cause this February with a DUI arrest. He also didn’t test well at the Combine. Because of his off-the-field issues, some teams that need an inside linebacker are saying they will probably pass on him.
Ogletree is instinctive in run defense and flies to the football. He is always around the ball and does a good job of reading and reacting. However, Ogletree has a tendency to go for knockout blows and needs to improve his tackling fundamentals to wrap up ball-carriers. Still, he was one of the SEC’s best run-defending linebackers in 2012.
The former safety has the potential to be a standout pass-coverage linebacker in the NFL. Ogletree moves well and covers a lot of ground. He is very fast and has the potential to cover tight ends in man coverage. That is a rare trait that really helps a passing attack by freeing up the safeties to help cornerbacks and cover other receivers. Ogletree also is a good blitzer, so he instantly projects as an every-down linebacker and a difference-maker.
For the next level, Ogletree needs to work on runs coming directly at him and shedding blocks. He also needs to improve his hands so he can get blockers off of him. Moving Ogleetree to outside linebacker could help disguise these weaknesses, but he has the ability to rectify them with coaching.
Ogletree’s speed, strength, physicality and instincts allow him to produce splash plays for his defense. He has a real presence in the middle of the field. If it weren’t for the off-the-field issues, he would go much higher in the 2013 NFL Draft. The consensus view has him going in the No. 20-32 range.
Player Comparison: Sean Weatherspoon. Ogletree is similar to Weatherspoon in a lot of ways. Both are gritty players who have instincts and an ability to make splash plays. Weatherspoon (6-2, 244) is similar in size to Ogletree and both are fast linebackers. Not only is Weatherspoon a good run-defender, he also is an asset in pass defense. Ogletree could become a solid producer like Weatherspoon.
However coming out of Missouri in 2010, Weatherspoon was more consistent than Ogletree. Weatherspoon has maintained a high caliber of play in the NFL and that is something Ogletree needs to work on. Weatherspoon was the 19th-overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, and Ogletree could go in the same range. If Ogletree can improve his fundamentals and stay out of trouble off the field, he could be a player comparable to Weatherspoon.
NFL Matches: St. Louis, New York Giants, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Baltimore
There are six teams in the latter half of the first round that could be good fits for Ogletree. The earliest he would probably go is to the Giants at the 19th selection. General manager Jerry Reese has stated he wants to improve the team’s linebacker play and Ogletree would be a good scheme fit.
Ogletree could go to the Bears at No. 20. Chicago needs a long-term replacement for Brian Urlacher, and Ogletree would be a good fit in Mel Tucker’s Cover 2 defense.
The Bengals could use an upgrade at linebacker, and Ogletree would be a good scheme fit for Mike Zimmer. Ogletree aggressive, attacking style could generate some big plays behind the disruptive Geno Atkins. Plus, Cincinnati hasn’t hesitated to take players with character issues in the past.
St. Louis badly needs an impact player at outside linebacker. The Rams took Janoris Jenkins last year and that has worked out well thus far. Ogletree could be a good scheme fit and is on the short list for one of St. Louis’ first-round picks.
Houston badly needs to improve its inside linebackers. Getting Brian Cushing back will help, but he’s coming off knee surgery, and the Texans need an upgrade next to him. However, they may not be willing to take Ogletree with his character issues.
The Super Bowl Champion Ravens have to replace Ray Lewis. While Lewis was an all-time great, he slowed down in his last few years, and Ogletree could be an upgrade for the Baltimore defense. Lewis had some off-the-field concerns entering the NFL but that worked out well for the Ravens. Perhaps Ogletree could pan out in similar fashion for Baltimore.
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