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Tale Of The Tape: Te'o Vs. Ogletree

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Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.
Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images.

We've already compared the top two outside linebacker prospects. Now, let's evaluate two of the top inside backers available in the 2013 NFL Draft, Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o and Georgia's Alec Ogletree, using the five most important characteristics that scouts look for at that position:

    •    Physical Attributes: Size, speed, strength, balance, agility
    •    Key and Diagnose: Ability to trust their eyes and see the appropriate keys
    •    Block Disruption: Ability to take on blocks, disengage
    •    Vs. Run:  Ability to make plays in the run game
    •    Vs. Pass: Ability to make plays in the passing game

PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES

Ogletree:  At 6-foot-2, 242 pounds, he possesses good size for an ILB. He has decent length in his arms (33 1/2 inches) and good hand size (10 inches). Ran a solid 4.70 at the combine. Shows good lower-body explosion with a vertical jump of 33.5 inches and a broad jump of 122.0 inches. Displayed good strength with a bench press of 20 reps. Ogletree arguably is the best athlete of all the linebackers in this draft class.

Te'o: At 6-1, 241, he also has good NFL size, arm length (32 1/2 inches) and hand size (9 1/2 inches). Ran an improved 40 at his pro day (in the 4.7s). Has decent lower-body explosion in the vertical jump (33 inches) and the broad jump (113 inches). Te’o is a solid athlete with good change of direction.

Advantage: Ogletree. He has shown the ability to turn mistakes into plays at the college level. Can run sideline to sideline and make plays off the edge with his athleticism. Showed he was one of the best athletes on the field in the talent-rich SEC.

KEY AND DIAGNOSE

Ogletree: This may be Ogletree’s biggest weakness. After initial flow, he loses track of the play. Doesn’t react well to misdirection or boot plays. Has trouble recognizing offensive schemes. In his bowl game against Nebraska, he looked like a spectator in the middle of the game. When he determines the play, he is fast at getting to the action, which he showed flashes of against South Carolina.

Te’o: Very good football instincts. Reacts well to misdirection and boot plays. Recognizes run/pass well. Doesn’t get himself out of position with his keys. Has a good feel in diagnosing route combinations. Te’o arguably had his best game in prime time vs. Oklahoma, playing as if he'd been in the Sooners' offensive huddle.

Advantage: Te’o. He's shown an ability to process his keys and quickly make correct decisions to react to them. Ogletree tends to get lost in reading his keys and is not assertive in making a decision; he has blown a few reads making the wrong decision. Te’o's instincts make him a faster player.

BLOCK DISRUPTION

Ogletree: Doesn’t show a willingness to engage blockers with his hands. Consistently uses a shoulder and braces on contact. As a result, he has difficulty disengaging from blocks. Has trouble holding the point and gets ridden out of gaps, as happened vs. Kentucky. Has difficulty working through traffic and gets cut at the second level. Has the physical tools to disengage from blockers but has not developed the skill set to his advantage. Pick a game to watch from 2012, and you can see he doesn’t use his hands well.

Te’o: Willing to initiate contact. Does a good job of shuffling and sliding into gaps. Is not great at squeezing the point, but uses his hands to punch and disengage. Was able in the USC game to play off blocks and make tackles for minimal gain. Doesn’t generate a lot of body shock, but enough to stalemate backs. Shows good body control and extension from blockers. Is able to accelerate off blockers to make plays. Can get cut, but has shown the ability to play off low blocks. 

Advantage: Te’o. He has developed his skill set to take on blocks. Te'o doesn’t knock offensive lineman back on their heels, but he is able to maintain leverage to slip off and make plays.

VS. RUN

Ogletree: Gets lost in the scheme at times. Indecisive, runs into piles without knowing where the ball is. When he is blocked, doesn’t have a consistent sense of urgency to get to the ball. On outside run plays, he shows more consistency running plays down on the edges. This is where he flashes his potential. Tends to be a drag tackler. A lot of his tackles come downfield. Misses tackles when he overpursues. He is a better player as a blitzer, as demonstrated when blitzing off the edge vs. Alabama and running down plays from behind.

Te’o: Has ability to find run-through lanes and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. Will miss tackles dropping his head at contact. His Stanford game highlights his ability to see run schemes, but he also missed plays in the backfield. Has a desire to get to the football when blocked. Can get outrun to the edge by some running backs. Takes good angles of pursuit and will knock back a pile as the second man in.

Advantage: Te’o. Athletically, Ogletree should be a dominant player but his numbers are a bit inflated, as his tackles occur downfield. Te’o utilizes his instincts to make tackles looking like he blitzed into play.

VS. PASS

Ogletree: Has great range in space with his footwork, agility and speed. Is best in man coverage where he knows his responsibility. In zone coverage, doesn’t have a feel for breaks. Does make up ground on catches in front of him to make tackles. Had opportunities for interceptions on the year but dropped some catchable balls.

Te’o: Has good range in space, good feet and good timing on breaks. In the Miami game, you can see his good sense of route concepts, feeling where receivers are in his zone. Makes up ground on breaks to offset any speed deficiencies. Is solid in man with favorable matchups. Is a good tackler in space with a good break on the throw, but gets into trouble with athletes in space that have a two-way go.

Advantage: Te’o. Has a better feel for zone and man concepts and makes plays when the ball in the air (seven interceptions in 2012). Again, Ogletree has the tools to be great in coverage, but hasn’t shown the instincts to match his ability.

OVERALL EDGE

Manti Te’o. Bottom line, he has the instincts to compete at a high level in the NFL. He is best suited to be a 4-3 linebacker, most likely a Mike backer, but could be a Will if a team wants him protected more and feels he can be a productive tackler. Has shown enough skill to produce as a 3-4 ILB. Ogletree has tremendous athletic ability, but his instincts slow him down. He is at his best as a blitzer or outside rusher where his responsibility is pre-determined and he is unleashed from making reads. Ogletree may fit better as a 3-4 OLB because he could be cut loose on the edge. Athletically, could be a very good Mike linebacker in a Tampa-2 scheme, but again his instincts haven’t shown he would be able to handle the responsibility early in his career. He may also fit in as a Will backer where he is protected and allowed to run free, but he needs work to develop his vision.