With the draft just a few hours away, I’ve got some more film review of prospects for our readers to look over. Today we have a couple of guys who have been slowly creeping up the board and are now likely first-round picks.
Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia:
Weight: 242 lbs.
Ogletree is a player I’ve been trying to decide where to fit on my value board. I’ve had him as high as 12 to as low as 35. Each time I go through it I move him: I begin to feel more confident about his transition to the NFL and move him up, and then the next time I remember just how badly he engages offensive linemen and I can’t imagine taking him in the 1st round.
Let’s talk about what Ogletree can bring to the table. He can cover; he gets beaten only once in the films I watched, and that play I specifically cover in the video. He also has very good speed. This wasn’t quite shown in his 40 time, but if you watch his tape, he shows the ability to undercut offensive linemen and make a play. He also shows to be a very sure tackler. Very rarely does he miss a tackle, and when he does, it’s generally from over-pursuing the ball carrier. He will have to break down and show some patience in those situations better in the NFL than he has in college, but I most definitely believe he can succeed.
Now that I’ve said that, the negatives: he engages horribly with offensive linemen. If you read/watched the Arthur Brown writeup/video, you saw a player who is very good at engaging offensive linemen despite his small stature. Ogletree does everything he can to not engage an offensive lineman, and at the NFL level that is a necessary skill. If he can’t engage, he will be forced to play weakside linebacker in a 4-3, where he will be asked to cover and play as more of a containment player, rather than as the downhill tackler at the ILB position he was in college.
I don’t have a good ceiling or floor for Ogletree. I just don’t feel comfortable projecting him. If forced, I’d say his ceiling is a starting middle linebacker who sees a Pro Bowl every once in a while, and his floor is Barrett Ruud, a tackle machine who flourishes early on but ends up getting worn down due to lack of technique.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame:
Weight: 251 lbs.
Here is the player whom the offensive linemen in me hates but the wannabe general manager loves. Eifert has potential to add a new level to an offense. He’s a player who has stayed consistent on my value board in the mid-teens, but whom I feel can end up being a homerun if he falls past the first 15 picks.
Eifert does a few things well, but the most important skill he has is his ability to catch. I believe this ability is his best, and it may be the most essential one for a young receiver coming into the league. Eifert does not wait for the ball to come to him, but rather, he goes after the ball when it is at its highest point. And being 6’6″, with some solid weight to him, he can bully plenty of the guys that will potentially be covering him. What Eifert also brings is crisp route running, as he shows in the video on his corner route and out routes. His route-running is clearly something he takes pride in. Last, he adds a little bit of blocking value with his ability to “stalk” block downfield, which just means he can get in front of corners, LBs, and safeties and cut them off from the play, turning good gains into big ones.
Now…Eifert the “tight end”– the player who makes my offensive linemen self cringe– really struggles with blocking. “Struggles” might be an understatement. You can see him getting beaten fairly badly on a few plays– he lunges, gets bullied, and does not “reach” block well at all. With that said, he won’t be the first TE to come into the league as a pass catcher first with low blocking ability. Marcedes Lewis transformed himself into a fine receiver as well as an elite level blocker; Jeremy Shockey also showed good level of blocking at the NFL level despite looking lost at times in protection in his rookie year.
Even with those negatives, Eifert will give any team an instant option on the offensive side of the ball. He will be a mismatch in the passing game. If is coached up and develops a better blocking ability, we could be looking at one of the premier TEs in the NFL in a few years. If the blocking doesn’t come, I still believe he has a role for a team as a receiver, but will not be that three-down player teams hope to grab.