In my updated mock draft last week, I had the Seahawks taking Alec Ogletree at #25. He only lasted that far due to possible red flags over a four-game suspension in 2012 for a failed drugs test. His chances of making it into the 20′s (or later) increased this weekend with the news he was arrested and charged with DUI in Arizona a week ago.
Ogletree’s agent Pat Dye told Mike Florio at PFT:
“Last weekend, my client Alec Ogletree was pulled over for speeding and a lane violation in Arizon. After the officers smelled alcohol, they conducted tests and also cited him for DUI. Although Alec regrets this incident terribly, he is thankful that there was no accident and that no one was hurt. Because this matter is still pending, we cannot comment further publicly at this time.”
Quite aside from the rampant stupidity of drink driving, what on earth was Ogletree thinking? He’s currently in the middle of the biggest job interview of his career. You’d expect a person in that situation to be dedicated to their craft, working hard to be 100% for the combine. At the very least, you don’t expect him to be drinking — let alone drinking and then getting into the driver’s seat of a car.
I’m a big fan of Ogletree’s on-field performance and his upside is through the roof. He could be a sensational player in the NFL. Yet stuff like this makes you want to run a mile. Can you trust a guy who jeopardises his college career with a failed drugs test, gets arrested as a freshman on a misdemeanor theft-by-taking charge and now this?
The interview process at the combine just became a lot harder for Ogletree. He’s going to have to explain his actions to anyone who’ll listen. But how do you explain them? Some GM’s and coaches won’t be prepared to listen and will presumably strike him off their boards immediately. If it was a one-off, you might be prepared to see through this. With an ever growing list of incidents, he runs the serious risk of falling much further than his talent deserves.
I suppose the question is, would the Seahawks take a chance? He’s undoubtedly skilled, appears perfect for Seattle’s defense and could be a star at the next level. There just aren’t many linebackers with his range, coverage skill and ability to play the edge as a pass rusher. He’d be a dynamic counter to any team looking to use the read option against the Seahawks while also potentially improving the teams third-down defense. He’s not a perfect player and you’d like to see more consistent effort. Yet there’s still so much to like about his game.
It’s also worth noting that Seattle’s front office hasn’t completely avoided players with perceived character issues. Bruce Irvin and Marshawn Lynch were both considered ‘risky’ investments. The team also coveted Brandon Marshall and had a look at Kellen Winslow and Terrell Owens. John Schneider and Pete Carroll aren’t afraid of a challenge.
Then you compare him to a player like Khaseem Greene — a picture of professionalism, an engaging character and a good enough athlete to usurp Ogletree on a lot of draft boards. Given the choice of the two, I suspect the Seahawks might choose Greene. They’d have to really appreciate Ogletree’s upside to see past the red flags. Greene is a saint in comparison.
Many players have had incidents like this and moved on. There’s nothing to say this won’t be a much needed wake up call for Alec Ogletree. Sometimes a player needs an epiphany moment to get their act together. If he’s willing to learn from this latest mistake and begin to mature and take responsibility for his actions, rolling the dice could prove to be a calculated gamble. He’s a very talented football player. I wouldn’t strike him off my board yet, but I’d want to be one of the first teams to interview him in Indianapolis.
I was going to move Ogletree up to #13 in my updated mock this week, but I’m going to have to consider that idea. Round two isn’t out of the question now. The one saving grace might be that the Bengals — never a team to shirk away from a guy with character red flags — are in need of a 4-3 outside linebacker. With picks at #21, #37 and #53, Ogletree could be saved by Cincinnati. It’s a shame he might have to be saved by anyone.
The other saving grace will be the combine coming up so quickly after this news became public knowledge. Ogletree’s physical qualities should shine in Indianapolis. He could be one of the star’s of the show. If he turns up and dominates in a lot of drills, he’ll take back some momentum. He’s got a lot more work to do though to convince teams he can be trusted.
Players like Ogletree only ever fall because of issues like this and good teams have benefited in the past from overreactions to off-field concerns. It’s not like past and present Seahawks players haven’t dealt with similar issues. You could end up with a defining talent because of stuff like this. I’d recommend keeping an open-mind. As ridiculous as this news is on the players behalf, it could be a turning point. I hope so for his sake that proves to be the case. Ogletree has so much upside and potential, it’s still hard to imagine passing on him.