Alec Ogletree: New York Giants are finally valuing linebackers

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 03: Inside linebacker Alec Ogletree (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 03: Inside linebacker Alec Ogletree (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

The New York Giants acquired Alec Ogletree from the Los Angeles Rams and their drought of quality linebacker play is finally over.

“WHAT THE (expletive) JUST HAPPENED?” That was the text I received after the New York Giants acquired linebacker Alec Ogletree from the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday afternoon. You think we’ve been waiting a long time for quality linebackers?

According to Art Stapleton, the Giants received Ogletree and a 2019 seventh-round pick from the Rams for a 2018 fourth-round compensatory pick and 2018 sixth-round pick. What a move by Dave Gettleman.

After years of needing help at the linebacker position, only to have Jerry Reese fill voids with players like Chase Blackburn, Mark Herzlich, and J.T. Thomas, Big Blue finally has a top-notch player in the middle of their defense.

We knew Gettleman would value linebackers more than Reese did. Gettleman comes from Carolina where the Panthers had one of the best linebacker units in football. Gettleman inherited Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis when he became general manager but also drafted Shaq Thompson with his 2015 first-round pick.

Bringing in James Bettcher and his 3-4 defense also meant the Giants would need improved play from their linebackers.

All signs pointed to Big Blue adding a linebacker or two this offseason, but I did not see this move coming. I had mocked linebackers such as Roquan Smith, Rashaan Evans, and Malik Jefferson to the Giants in my mock drafts, but was not expecting a trade for a player like Alec Ogletree.

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In my defense, Ogletree just signed a four-year, $42.75 million contract extension with the Rams in October, so few people saw this trade coming. But the Rams are looking to create cap room to re-sign Sammy Watkins and extend Aaron Donald, so New York becomes the beneficiary.

Ogletree is one of the league’s best linebackers. Since being drafted 30th overall in 2013, he has produced three seasons with at least 111 total tackles, with a career-high 136 in 2016. The only two seasons he didn’t reach 100 tackles were the two seasons he didn’t play all 16 games.

Ogletree had 95 total tackles in 15 games in 2017 and when he played just four games in 2015 due to a fractured fibula, he had 42 total tackles. He was on pace for 100+ tackles in both seasons.

The 2016 Second-Team All-Pro has also had at least 10 pass breakups in every healthy season, has 5.5 career sacks, six career interceptions, and 12 career forced fumbles.

Ogletree flies to the football and forces turnovers with the best of them. He’ll line up in the middle of Bettcher’s defense, likely with B.J. Goodson, and could be New York’s missing piece.

A captain with the Rams, Ogletree should bring a much-needed locker room leader to the Giants. Between Ogletree, Damon Harrison, and Landon Collins, Big Blue will have a captain-worthy player at all three levels of the defense.

Next: Shurmur and Gettleman hinting at passing on a QB?

The New York Giants are finally valuing the linebacker position! Is trading for Alec Ogletree their only move or will they add another linebacker in free agency or the draft? Only time will tell but Dave Gettleman is off to a great start, wasting no time putting his mark on Big Blue’s roster.