The Rams showed last year they're willing to gamble on players with off-field issues when they drafted corners Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson. Both worked out, so far.
St. Louis continued the trend Thursday, taking Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree at No. 30 overall. General manager Les Snead and coach Jeff Fisher said Ogletree would have been at least a top-15 pick if not for his off-field problems.
“I would say probably top-10, top-15 at the worst,” Fisher said.
“You know people are going to make mistakes and I think that this was a maturity issue,” Fisher added, perhaps referring to Ogletree's DUI arrest a week before the Combine. “He understands. He learned very well, very quickly here tonight what kind of effect those choices have, but we don't have a concern. We felt, because of some of the issues, that he had a chance to fall. Didn't think he'd go that far, but were in the right place at the right time.”
Ogletree (6-foot-3, 242 pounds) with uncommon speed and range, generated red flags before the DUI arrest. He was suspended for the first game of his college career after being charged with stealing a Georgia track athlete's motorcycle helmet. He was suspended for the first four games of 2012 after reportedly failing drug tests.
Ogletree called it a blessing to hear his name called Thursday.
He said he had told the Rams he was “young and dumb and made mistakes in my life. I'm just ready to move forward and start this new chapter in my life.”
Ogletree runs a 4.68 forty and plays with tremendous aggressiveness. Snead recalled linebackers coach Frank Bush meeting with Ogletree and “drawing up a lot of things we're going to see in our division. He said, ‘Hey, what do you do right here?'
“Basically Ogletree drew a line and said, ‘I go right there and make the tackle right at the line of scrimmage.' He didn't get into this or that, he just said, ‘I'm going to meet that guy right there.' I think Frank was sold at that moment.”
The Rams traded up to to grab West Virginia wideout Tavon Austin at No. 8 overall, and traded down to draft Ogletree.