I can relate to the position that Los Angeles Rams MLB Alec Ogletree has been put in. This time last year, he was looking to establish himself as a premier 'Will' LB in Gregg Williams' defense. Now? He's being looked upon to lead the defense. That can be an extremely difficult transition to make, especially when you consider that Ogletree was a safety that converted to linebacker at the University of Georgia.
To his credit, 'Tree is excited about the transition and is embracing the challenge. Gregg Williams has said that he's 'created a monster' and - given his past - that is quite the statement. Ogletree has all the athleticism you could ever want in a MLB. If he can harness that athleticism while handling the pre-snap requirements of the 'Mike' backer, the Rams D could go places in 2016.
Making the jump from WLB to MLB is no small feat. Middle linebackers aren't called the QB of the defense for nothing. They are required to know the playbook back and front, make all necessary pre-snap adjustments, and relay a ton of information from the defensive coaching staff to the field. The mental adjustment will be crucial if Ogletree and the Rams D are going to have a successful season.
'Tree will have to stay in his lane as well. At his best, he's an instinctual player. He reads then reacts and makes a play. After playing his first three seasons at OLB, can he play that way at MLB? Or will he be a step behind as he 'thinks' through a play instead of reacting. Getting into - and staying in - the mindset of a MLB will be of the utmost importance.
Stats are somewhat secondary in this situation, but if I had to project out I'd say that leading the Rams in tackles is a must. Toss in a couple turnovers and sacks and you have a Pro-Bowl level season on your hands.
Chances of Making the Roster (10/10)
Ogletree is the centerpiece of the Rams D moving forward. He's right there next to Aaron Donald, Trumaine Johnson, and recently PAID Mark Barron. He's going to be on the team.