INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Alec Ogletree passes the eye test for an NFL linebacker.
All he has to do now is prove he’s worth the risk.
Ogletree has had his share of problems since arriving at Georgia, a list that includes a four-game suspension to start last season for an undisclosed violation of team rules and last weekend’s DUI arrest. When he showed up to take reporters’ questions Saturday, the fourth day of the league’s annual scouting combine, the first five questions were about his past mistakes and whether it will affect his draft stock.
“I don’t really know what it’s going to do, but like I said, I feel bad about it and I’m really sorry about it,” Ogletree said. “I just have to move forward and take what I get.”
Ogletree isn’t the only one facing these sorts of questions.
Two other prominent former SEC players — receiver Da’Rick Rogers and cornerback Tyrann Mathieu — have acknowledged they tested positive for drugs in college. Tennessee and LSU, respectively, kicked Rogers and Mathieu off their teams.
Then there’s the strange saga of Armonty Bryant, a defensive lineman from East Central University, a Division II school in Oklahoma, who will spend this weekend explaining his arrest on a felony charge of marijuana distribution in a school zone. He said an officer spotted him selling marijuana to a friend in the back lot of the school dorms.
Bryant was called out of practice in October, was subsequently arrested and wound up getting a five-year deferred sentence and two years of supervised probation.
“I told them (scouts) that it was stupid, it was a stupid mistake,” Bryant said. “I was in college and I wasn’t looking toward my future. I tell them I was young, and it was a dumb thing.”
Those sorts of youthful indiscretions can become key factors in where places wind up on a team’s draft board — or whether their names are completely removed.
In all four cases, it could make an impact.
But Ogletree is the only one who was listed as first-round pick. He seems to have the most to lose.
“Just by having a good interview,” he said when asked how he plans to convince NFL teams he’s changed. “Just being a good person and letting them get to know me and who I really am and now just what they hear about me and stuff.”
ROBINSON THE RECEIVER: One of the more interesting story lines Sunday will be seeing how much progress Denard Robinson has made since the Senior Bowl in trying to make the transition from college quarterback to pro receiver.
And that might not be the only position Robinson gets a shot.
After struggling at the Senior Bowl, he acknowledged some teams have asked about the possibility of playing him at running back and he plans to throw at his Pro Day workout March 14. Defensive back is another possibility. In past years, combine officials have given college quarterbacks such as Antwaan Randle El, to showcase their skills at more than one position.
It could happen again Sunday, though Robinson insists he is focused on only one thing — showing scouts he can catch the football.
“You have to make sure you attack the ball and not just fading away from the ball. You have to stay on top of stuff,” Robinson said. “I’ve played football my whole life and I just have to get used to doing it. And just have fun learning a new position I’m catching a lot of balls and learning a lot of routes and just trying to get ready for it.”
PAY DAY: One fast player at this week’s combine may have a contract offer even before April’s draft weekend.
The shoemaker Adidas took out an ad in The Indianapolis Star on Saturday, offering a contract to the player who runs the fastest time this weekend.
It might take a while to find the winner. Last year’s fastest 40-time (4.28 seconds) was posted by Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill. There has been a sub-4.3 run each of the past five years and there have been 14 times under 4.3 since 2005. LSU receiver Trindon Holliday set the record (4.21) in 2010.
So why the wait?
Four of those top times were posted by cornerbacks and they won’t run until Tuesday.
TOP PERFORMERS: Among the offensive line prospects Saturday, Ohio University guard Eric Herman finished with the most reps (36) on the 225-pound bench press, while Terron Armstead was the fastest, finishing the 40-yard dash in 4.71 seconds. Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson was second in the 40 at 4.72.
Armstead (34½ inches) and Johnson (34) also posted the best vertical jump numbers.
Among tight ends, Arkansas’ Chris Gragg (4.50) and Maryland’s Matt Furstenburg (4.62) were the fastest. Gragg also led his peers with a 37 ½-inch vertical jump. Tommy Bohanon, a fullback at Wake Forest who worked out with the tight ends on Saturday, also did 36 reps to lead his group.
PLAYING COY: New York reporters tried to get Giants general manager Jerry Reese to open up about his offseason plans.
Reese did what most front-office people do in Indianapolis, keeping those thoughts to himself.
He did share a few thoughts, like whether the Giants valued Hakeem Nicks over Victor Cruz.
“No, that’s not correct,” Reese said. “They’re both good players, we like them both, and I don’t think we like one more than the other.
Or on the recent comments from Colts career sacks leader Dwight Freeney, who is now a free agent and has expressed interest in playing for New York, the team he grew up watching in Connecticut.
“We investigate everything,” Reese said.
But for the most part, Reese did little to shed light on what the Giants would do before the free agent market opens March 12.
“We keep all our options open,” Reese said when asked about team owner John Mara’s comments that New York wouldn’t use the franchise tag this year. “John and Steve Tisch own the team, they can say whatever they want. But I would like to say we would like to keep all of our options open with respect to that.”
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)