It’s time for some more of my “2013 Mock Draft Analysis!” On Monday, Josh Sanchez of Fansided.com unveiled his new and updated 2013 N.F.L. Mock Draft. In it, Sanchez projected the following player to be selected by the Steelers with the 17th overall pick in Round 1:
Alec Ogletree, Linebacker, Georgia
In my last mock, I had Pittsburgh going with Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones after a dream scenario that had him fall into Pittsburgh’s lap. As time goes on, it appears that Jones’ spinal stenosis will not scare away teams, so we turn to Jones’ college teammate for the answer in the Steel City. Ogletree will bring some much needed youth and physicality to the team’s linebacking corp.
As I have mentioned numerous times (here and here), I would be extremely pleased if the Steelers made Ogletree their 1st Round selection this April. Over the last two years, the Bulldog Linebacker has been a “Tackling Machine” and quite the productive player. During his Sophomore season, Ogletree made 8 Starts, logged 52 Tackles, 7.5 Tackles for Loss (TFL’s), 3.0 Sacks, and forced 3 Fumbles during a season in which he sustained a broken foot.
This past year, the Junior Linebacker really emerged as one of the S.E.C.’s best Defensive players. Overall, Ogletree led the Bulldogs in Tackles with 111, posted 11.5 TFL’s, recorded 3.0 Sacks, forced 1 Fumble and recovered 2, made 1 Interception, and returned a blocked Field Goal for a Touchdown in the S.E.C. Title Game. Incredibly, Ogletree played in only 10 games as he was suspended for the first 4 games of the year due to a violation of team rules.
As long as the Steelers are not scared away by some of the Linebacker’s college shenanigans (here and here), he would be a perfect fit from an athletic and play-making stand-point on Dick LeBeau’s Defensive unit. Recruited to be a Safety by the Bulldogs out of High School, Ogletree possesses an immense amount of athleticism for a player in a “Linebacker’s Body.” At 6’3″ 234 lbs., Ogletree is an imposing figure for a player at his position. In addition, he also brings a physical nature to the position, and has the tools to be a “3-Down Linebacker,” due to his ability to play well against the run and the pass.
Having Ogletree plus the veteran Lawrence Timmons and (hopefully healthy) Sean Spence as the Inside Linebacker rotation would give the Steelers a fighting chance to improve their pass coverage between the hashes. Moreover, Ogletree and Spence would give Pittsburgh’s Defense a pair of Inside Linebackers in sub-packages who are athletic enough to have the potential to defend the pass against some of the League’s more athletic Tight Ends on a consistent basis too.
If Ogletree is around at #17 though, and he is indeed selected by the Steelers, I earnestly hope the Coaching Staff gives him every chance to play and contribute on the Defensive side of the ball during his Rookie campaign. With 2013 likely to be a rebuilding season for Pittsburgh anyway, so I see no reason why a talented yet raw player like the Georgia Linebacker should have to ride the “pine pony” while a veteran with likely no future beyond the 2014 season with the team receives reps instead.
This aforementioned thinking not only goes for Ogletree though, but for any Defensive player drafted by the Steelers over the next three years in general. I mean, at least figure out if these guys can play and contribute early as opposed to forcing them to rot on the bench for no good reason other than their age and supposed “lack of experience.”
Of all the players who the Steelers could take with their 1st Round selection, Ogletree would probably be at or near the top of my “wish list” as a fan. The athleticism and tenacity which he could bring to the Inside Linebacker position translates well to today’s “Pass-Happy” N.F.L., and he would be a great combination of a “B.P.A.” and a “Need” at #17 overall. Whomever the Steelers select, I simply hope that the Front Office can draft the correct pieces to rebuild their Defense over the next few years.
Readers: Should the Steelers select Ogletree if he falls to them at #17? Or should they draft a player at another position?