NFL Rookies

Ogletree among trio of Coweta players ready to open camp

by Chris Goltermann

Alec Ogletree is one who's rarely needed to make adjustments on the football field when reaching the next level. He became a starter by his sophomore year at Newnan High and was on the field as a true freshman at Georgia.

So as an NFL rookie with the St. Louis Rams, don't expect Ogletree to show any signs of pressure anytime soon.

'I'm here to play my game and help the team in any way I can,' Ogletree told reporters following the second of two-days of rookie drills on the cusp of camp opening for Rams veterans today. 'If coach calls my name, I'll be ready to go at any point.'

As a first-round draft pick, St. Louis expects the former Cougar safety, who went on to equally shine following a move to middle linebacker in Athens, to step right in as a starter on the Rams defense after being selected with the 30th overall selection last spring.

Early depth charts list Ogletree - who will be wearing jersey No. 52 with St. Louis - as the starter at will linebacker besides James Laurinaitis, who is heading into his fifth season.

Ogletree admitted that at times he's used both Laurinaitis and fellow starting linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar as buffers while making the transition to the NFL.

'I have talked them a lot to pick on things that they knew about the league, different plays,' he said. 'They've been very open to us.' Ogletree reportedly agreed to a four-year $7.03 million contract that includes a signing bonus of nearly $3.5 million. Of that total, $5.66 million is guaranteed.

He becomes the first Newnan High player to join the NFL after being selected in the first round while also the first athlete from Coweta County picked that high since veteran linebacker Keith Brooking in 1998.

Ogletree is one of three former high school standouts from Coweta County on NFL rosters as camps open this week. One-time Newnan High teammate Alan Bonner was a sixth-round selection of the Houston Texans and looks to make the team as a widereceiver and kick returner. Bonner set special teams records during his four years at Jacksonville State. Former Heritage School and Troy lineman Kyle Wilborn also signed with the Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent. Both the 6-4, 299-pound Wilborn, who played all five positions on the line at Troy during his career, and Bonner, played in the Raycom All-Star Classic in front of pro scouts.

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