|Ogletree has obvious upside, but a recent DUI arrest could scare off some NFL teams. (USA Today Sports Images)|
Former Georgia inside linebacker Alec Ogletree was arrested last weekend and charged with DUI, a charge NFL teams may be taking more seriously considering the tragic events that occurred in Dallas two months ago.
Ogletree's agent, Pat Dye Jr., told Profootballtalk.com his client “was pulled over for speeding and a lane violation in Arizona. 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.”
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time the highly athletic Ogletree has run afoul of the law. He was arrested and charged with the theft of a Georgia track athlete's motorcycle helmet Sept. 3, 2010, and was suspended for the first game of his collegiate career.
Clearly, Ogletree has an ugly track record off the field, which teams will need to investigate thoroughly. For some, the most important element of the investigation will begin next week when Ogletree and 332 other prospects will be in Indianapolis for the annual NFL Scouting Combine.
For Ogletree, the athletic testing won't now be as important as the myriad interviews he's likely to have scheduled with teams.
Teams will certainly want to interview him because, frankly, every team in the league is searching for athletic hybrid defenders like Ogletree, a highly regarded prep prospect who was considered the crown jewel of Georgia's 2010 recruiting class.
Ogletree, listed at 6-3, 232-pounds on his official bio at the Georgia Bulldogs' athletics site, originally made his mark at strong safety, starting five games and seeing action in all 12 of the contests in which he was eligible. He had 34 tackles as a true freshman, earning Georgia's Newcomer of the Year Award on defense.
As he grew, the team moved him to inside linebacker. Ogletree suffered a broken foot in the 2011 season opener against Boise State and missed the next seven games. Once he returned, Ogletree showed why the team had faith in him, registering just 20 tackles behind team leader Shawn Williams with 52 stops, including 7.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and tying for the team lead with two forced fumbles.
Ogletree's talents were once again obvious in 2012. After missing the first four games on suspension, he led the Bulldogs with 111 tackles, chipping in 11.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He also returned a blocked kick 50-yards for a touchdown in the SEC Championship Game against Alabama.
While a natural playmaker with explosive athleticism, Ogletree struggles to disengage with blockers and too often leaves his feet prematurely as a would-be tackler. These are coachable skills that should come as gains more familiarity with the position. As such, scouts feel he can make an immediate impact in the NFL, regardless of which role he's asked to play, a reason why I've projected him to play outside in the Cincinnati Bengals' 4-3 alignment in my latest mock draft and Dane Brugler sees him as a potential fit in the Green Bay Packers' 3-4 scheme.
Given this weekend's news, the Bengals might no longer be a fit for Ogletree. Marvin Lewis' club has a potential hole at linebacker with Rey Maualuga entering free agency but he didn't develop as expected following an eye-popping career at USC. Like Ogletree, Maualuga was known for making some flashy plays at USC but fell on draft day due to off-field issues.
Just how far Ogletree could fall due to this charge (if at all), of course, remains to be seen. His former Georgia teammate, tight end Orson Charles, fell to the fourth round in large part due to a DUI arrest a year ago after earning top-50 hype throughout much of the pre-draft process. He landed with the Bengals.
While Ogletree's stock is certainly now in limbo, the good news for NFL teams needing help at linebacker is that this year's inside and outside linebacker classes are quite good. LSU's Kevin Minter and Notre Dame's Manti Te'o (who, of course, has his own off-field issues to discuss with teams) could each leap ahead of Ogletree, as could smaller but more technically sound outside linebackers Arthur Brown (Kansas State) and Khaseem Greene (Rutgers).