The New York Giants defense failed at every single level in 2012. The defensive ends were unable to get to the passer, the middle of the defense was soft and the secondary had issues all season in coverage. Unless the Giants were able to force their opponents into turnovers, the team was virtually incapable of defending their opponent. Although Georgia inside linebacker Alec Ogletree would not solve all of the Giants issues, he would serve as a versatile defender in the middle of the defense.
Ogletree is capable of lining up anywhere on the field. Think of him as the opposite of Mathias Kiwanuka. Kiwanuka, who was drafted as a defensive end, but he is still versatile enough to be a relatively productive linebacker as well. In comparison, Ogletree is primarily a linebacker; however, he still has the speed and athleticism to line up as an edge pass rusher. His 6'3", 232 pound frame makes him a daunting presence in the middle. His speed makes him able more than capable of guarding tight ends and backs out of the backfield. Although he missed four games this season, Ogletree still had 13 more tackles than any other player on the Bulldog's roster.
Furthermore, Ogletree would solve a lot of the Giants problems on defense. Towards the end of 2012, the Giants were getting gashed by interior runs. The defensive tackles were weak at the point of attack, while Chase Blackburn was getting consistently washed out by lead blockers. Ogletree is a far superior athlete to Blackburn and would help deter opponents from running up the middle of the defense. By deterring opponents from running the football, the Giants pass rush will have more opportunities to get to the quarterback.
Furthermore, by having a speedy linebacker in the middle of the field who can play either man or zone coverage, Ogletree could act as an antidote to the short, quick passes that opponents love to throw against the Giants. No longer would receivers be able to beat the Giants linebackers to the middle of the field, or tight ends to the sideline. Ogletree would help the Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul focus on getting to the quarterback, which could transform this defense back into the unit we saw at the end of 2011.
Due to his versatility and sky-high potential, it's questionable whether Ogletree falls to the Giants at No.19. Currently, he's the third best linebacker prospect in the draft behind Jarvis Jones and Manti Te'o. However, Ogletree has more than enough time to make his case to be taken ahead of Te'o. If Ogletree does leapfrog Te'o on draft boards around the league, the Giants will likely have to look elsewhere with their first-round selection.
Alec Ogletree is the kind of player that can be inserted into the Giants defense right away. He's not going to need a redshirt year to learn the scheme. He's athletic enough to play on nearly every defense in the NFL. Ogletree played his entire career in the SEC, which will only add to his NFL readiness. If the Giants are serious about improving their defense, drafting Ogletree would be a great way to start.
Also…Alec Ogletree, Chase Blackburn, Football, Georgia, Mathias Kiwanuka, New York, New York Giants, NFL