ATHENS - It was a long wait on Thursday night, but Alec Ogletree was still a first-round pick.
The St. Louis Rams picked the former Georgia inside linebacker with the 31st pick, picking Ogletree over Notre Dame's Manti Te'o.
Ogletree left Georgia after his junior season, when he led the team in tackles despite missing the first four games of the season. His sideline-to-sideline athletic ability wowed scouts, but off-field concerns dogged him: He was arrested for DUI in February, had a four-game drug suspension last year, and had a minor theft arrest his freshman year.
Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead estimated Ogletree would have been a top-15 pick if not for the off-field concerns.
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"People are gonna make mistakes. This was a maturity issue," Fisher said at a press conference in St. Louis, according to video on the Rams' web site. "He learned very early what effect those choices have. We don't have concern. We felt because of some of the issues he had a chance to fall. We didn't think he'd (fall) that far. But we were at the right place at the right time."
Fisher also said they liked Ogletree's sideline-to-sideline skills, and called it a "byproduct" of his background as a safety. ogletree moved from safety to inside linebacker after his freshman year at Georgia. Fisher said he was impressed by Ogletree's "pursuit speed."
"(We were) convinced he's looking forward to the future, and understands how to do things right, and knows this is a great opportunity for him," Fisher said. "He's a very, very talented player."
Coupled with Jarvis Jones being picked by Pittsburgh, this is the sixth time since 1999 that two Georgia players have been picked in the first round.
Ogletree is the first Georgia player the Rams organization has ever taken in the first round. He's only the third Georgia player the Rams have picked since 1960; offensive tackle Ken Shackleford went in the sixth round in 2007, and defensive tackle Bill Goldberg in the 11th round in 1990.