The St. Louis Rams have selected Georgia OLB Alec Ogletree with the 30th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Pros: Former safety who plays with that kind of range -- can run quickly to just about any area on the defense from linebacker depth. Reads keys and diagnoses backfield action well -- will patiently wait from his position and then unleash his speed to make plays. Has the height and jumping ability to cover tight ends in the seam. Outstanding half-field defender who seems made to play in nickel -- will close quickly to either sideline. Surprisingly good wrap tackler for his size. Doesn't bounce off a lot of plays and doesn't get dragged too often by power backs. Zeroes in on the ballcarrier with accuracy and doesn't misdirect, which is impressive for all his velocity.
Understands angles and will cut around blockers almost as a receiver would cut away from a defensive back. Possesses the pure burn off the edge to produce as a blitzing linebacker, and will occasionally zoom into the pocket from coverage depth to pressure quarterbacks. Has the backpedal, hip turn, and short-area speed to cover well in man or zone. Dynamic special teams player.
Cons: Thin player who will struggle against blocks -- can be easily walled off. Bounces off blocks at times, but doesn't use his hands to functionally disengage. Needs a bigger line with fairly dominant players to open up gaps for him; he's not a power player at all. Missed tackles are precisely the issue you would expect from a less powerful player who's flying around all the time. Long list of off-field issues will debit him with teams, and he wasn't specifically impressive when explaining his past during media session at the scouting combine.
What he brings to the team: Speed in a 360-degree sense. And a LOT of baggage.
Was it the right pick? I don't like the pick at all. Though Ogletree is without question the best pure speed linebacker in this draft class and he's able to do more things at a position that is increasing in value all the time, I would severely hesitate before selecting him with a first-round pick -- or any pick at all, for that matter. If I had the choice to take Ogletree or Kansas State's Arthur Brown, Rutgers' Khaseem Greene, or Missouri's Zaviar Gooden, I would probably go with a player who possessed slightly less athleticism, but who wouldn't land me in GM Jail a few years down the road because he can't stay out of trouble. We'll see if the Rams come up trumps on this one.