Since first suiting up for the then St. Louis Rams in 2013, LB Alec Ogletree has been the best linebacker on the Rams. That’s no slight to Rams all-time leading tackler James Laurinaitis either. The Animal, Jr., as he was affectionately known, was a beast in his own right, but he had well-known limitations in coverage. As a converted safety at Georgia, Ogletree simply never had those holes in his game.
Ogletree enters the 2017 NFL season in a contract year playing under his fifth-year option exercised in 2016. If his career trajectory continues, the Rams are going to have an expensive time retaining him AND extending DE Aaron Donald.
There isn’t so much of a battle here as there is (another) adjustment for Ogletree. After being drafted as an OLB, he replaced Laurinaitis as the Rams 4-3 MLB last season. Now, he will have to adjust to playing in the middle of Wade Phillip’s 3-4 scheme.
There should be little doubt that he will be able to make the adjustment. He has successfully navigated transitions in the past and has worked his way to All-Pro (2nd team) status.
Which is where the expectations start. After being named to 2nd team All-Pro last season, new Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips is going to lean on him in 2017 - both as a playmaker and as a leader on the field.
Ogletree won’t turn 26-years old until next month, yet he has the feel of a seasoned veteran on this defense. He’ll need to play that part in 2017 if the Rams are going to obtain the ever-elusive “elite” label on defense.
Chances of Making Roster (10/10)
There isn’t a question here. Ogletree will be on the field a LOT in 2017 and should be the best defender on the field not named Aaron Donald.