INDIANAPOLIS – In a perfect world, a player with Alec Ogletree’s accomplishments would enter what Ryan Grigson calls the combine and its components “the ultimate job interview” with nothing to do but talk football.
When missteps accompany world-class talent, they shout much louder than statistics.
Ogletree’s aim is to be one of the top players taken in the draft. His reality is that off-field indiscretions could upset the process.
A recent DUI was not the first incident for Ogletree. He also sat out the first four games in 2012 for a failed drug test. There was an incident in his first season that involved another Bulldog athlete.
Ogletree started 22-of-30 games in three seasons at Georgia, totaling 197 tackles (20 for losses), six sacks and four fumbles forced. He did so in one of the best programs in the nation’s top conference.
The inside linebacker said during his college days that other teammates like Shawn Williams did the talking while he let his play-making style speak for him.
Saturday, he had to speak for himself when teams inquired about his character issues.
“I’m a good person at heart. Everybody makes mistakes,” said Ogletree. “I feel real bad about the situation. I’m learning from it, and I’m moving forward.”
Of how this factors into his draft selection in April, Ogletree said, “I don’t really know what it’s going to do. … I just have to move forward and take whatever I get.”
Ogletree is just one of several draft-eligible players who faced the combine music this year. There have been many in the past. There are others coming in the future.
He shared the notoriety spotlight yesterday with Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o. Te’o had to address a personal matter as well, though his incident broke no laws.
Still, teams put players front and center in the interview process. They try to peel away prepared responses with multiple tactics.
Grigson says the Colts are a team that believes in second chances. Indianapolis is not alone in that regard, and each team measures its willingness to take chances as it sees fit.
Ogletree appears to have difference-making talent, a player who could be on the field in many situations in the right defense. He appears to be ripe to move talent-wise to the next level.
Ogletree knows he must be accountable for his actions and make better future decisions.
Does he think teams believe he is a good person?
“I would hope so,” said Ogletree. “I think so.”
Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham spent 11 years in the NFL as a line coach and coordinator, including a 1999-2001 stint on Jim Mora’s Colts staff. Grantham is sold on Ogletree’s ability.
“I know he’s a dynamic player. I know he can be a special inside backer, that’s why we moved him there,” said Grantham. “I think his future’s really bright because he’s a young player at that position. I know he’s a guy that can continue to improve.”