One veteran agent, who knows basically everybody in the NFL, told the Post-Dispatch last week: “Nobody likes him.” It wouldn’t be surprising if some close to coach Jeff Fisher told him not to do it. He did it. Fisher and the Rams selected Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree on Thursday night at No. 30 overall. So when it came to Round 1, the veteran agent was right: most of the league did pass on Ogletree. It’s a controversial pick for the Rams, and a potential train wreck because of Ogletree’s off-the-field issues in college. He was suspended four games at the start of Georgia’s 2012 season for violating the school’s drug policy. Nonetheless, he led the Bulldogs with 111 tackles, including 11½ tackles for loss and three sacks last season in just 10 games. And then, shortly before the NFL Scouting Combine, Ogletree was arrested for driving under the influence. Ogletree’s father, Al, his longtime youth football coach and lifetime counselor, has talked to Alec about the dangers of falling in with the wrong crowd and did so in graphic terms. He told his son that if you meet a person and he befriends you, “and he takes you through manure and you walk through it with him, OK, that’s a mistake. But if they take you back through that same door again and you see that manure, it’s not a mistake anymore.” It’s a problem. “So you’ve got to choose, do I want to go this way, or do I walk over this way?” Al Ogletree said. Obviously, Alec has walked the wrong way more than once. Besides the two off-the-field issues this year, he was charged with theft earlier in his college career for taking a Georgia track athlete’s motorcycle helmet. On Thursday night, Olgetree learned the hard way the impact of such missteps. Widely considered to be a top 15 talent, he watched name after name called by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell before he was finally selected. “You know people are going to make mistakes and I think that this was a maturity issue,” Fisher said after the pick was made Thursday night. “He understands. He learned very well, very quickly what kind of effect those choices have.” The financial impact of dropping to No. 30 from the top 15 is immense. Try about $2.5 million. As an example, last year’s No. 14 overall pick – Rams defensive end Michael Brockers – signed a four-year, $9.52 million contract. Last year’s No. 30 overall pick, San Francisco wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, signed a four-year $6.9 million deal. The difference between the Brockers and Jenkins deals: $2.62 million. “But we don’t have a concern,” Fisher said. “We felt, because of some of the issues, that he had a chance to fall. Didn’t think he’d (fall) that far, but we were in the right place at the right time.” Ogletree and his parents joined the Rams’ other first-round draft pick, wide receiver Tavon Austin and his parents, at an introductory press conference Friday at Rams Park. As was the case in his conference call Thursday night with reporters, Ogletree sounded much more remorseful about his off-field issues than he did at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. “I really want to thank the Rams’ organization for taking a chance on me,” Ogletree said, speaking in a crowded team auditorium full of media members and team employees. “I just had to make sure I let ’em know that everything was behind me, and I’m ready to seize the opportunity that they’re ready to give me. I have to move forward.” Watching himself plummet in the first round helped drive home the point that his college indiscretions weren’t welcomed by the NFL.
Drafting Ogletree is risky business for Rams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Apr 27