#98, Brian Orakpo, OLB
CFA Player Analysis
At 26, Orakpo has had a very successful start to his career from a production standpoint, but the team ha syet to be successful. If the Redskins are to turn the ship around, Orakpo will have to be leading the charge. There are numerous positive signs indicating that he can be that type of player. His previous year was a top 10 pass rushing effort. He has shown production and has all of the physical gifts to indicate a superstar pass rusher in the making.
However, he has yet to earn the respect of the league. At least to the degree he feels he deserves. If he improves on last season, which he is entirely capable of, he will cement his status as an elite pass rusher. Even maintaining the status quo should be good enough.
In college, he liked Of Mice and Men, Robert DeNiro, Halle Berry and Big Love (though he was surprised he liked Big Love).
High School Lamar High School – Houston, Texas – 2000 to 2004
Orakpo was a natural athlete who was somewhat unaware of his abilities and initially unsure of how to use them. In this piece, his JV basketball teammate talks about Orakpo having trouble making layups. Then the coach told him to dunk the ball instead, and he proceeded to dunk on all of the varsity players from that point until the end of practice. Pretty bad ass. Orakpo would star in basketball until he hung up his sneakers after his junior year to concentrate on transitioning to Texas football.
By his junior year Orakpo was a top prospect and had a scholarship offer from Texas. He was a two-time first-team all-district selection in the greater Houston area.
College – University of Texas 2004 to 2009
Redshirted his true freshman year. In his redshirt freshman year in 2005, Orakpo earned numerous first-team freshman honors including Defensive Freshman of the year from the Sporting News. He continued to play well and produce throughout his time at Texas peaking during his senior year when he won the Nagurski Trophy (nation’s top defensive player), Lombardi Award (nation’s top lineman) and Hendricks Award (nation’s top defensive end). Had 11.5 sacks and 19 TFL. He four games due to a knee injury his junior year and one game during his senior year due to knee issues.
Bunting had him pegged in the middle of the first round which is where he ended up going. He saw him as a 10 sack guy in the pros with nice explosion and power. This was pretty much the consensus on Orakpo, teams loved his talent with the slight caveat that his injury history was a little worrisome. He was the top rated defensive end in the draft though Aaron Maybin was selected before him. Oops.
Bruce Feldman named Orakpo college football’s top workout warrior. He bench pressed up to 515 pounds and maxed out in the squat at 600 pounds. Mack Brown said Orakpo was as good an athlete as he’s ever coached.
Football Outsiders SackSeer predicted he would have about 25 sacks in his first five years. To date, Orakpo has 28. 5 sacks in his first three years.
Aggregated Advanced Analysis
2011 They see Orakpo as a durable impact player who consistently performs at an outstanding level for the Redskins. His strength and explosion of the edge are credited for his ability to create mismatches.
Football Outsiders Almanacs
2012 Called Orakpo and Kerrigan as good as any bookend pass rushers in football. Said defenses keyed on Orakpo, which opened things up for Kerrigan. Noted that Orakpo has drawn 16 offensive holding penalties over the last two years, more than anyone in the league other than the Dolphins Canadian Wunderkind Cameron Wake.
2011 Not really mentioned except to say Ryan Kerrigan will help him. Had good numbers stopping the run in their game charting data.
Pro Football Focus Grades
2011 Performed at the 75th percentile for a starting caliber 34 OLB. Out of 95 pass rushers who played 50% of their teams snaps in 2011, Orakpo graded out better than over 90% of them in PFF rushing ratings. At 59, had more total pressures on the quarterback (sacks+hits+hurries) than 80% of pass rushers. Performed well in their coverage ratings. Performed in the bottom quartile in run coverage. Consistently performed well in game by game ratings with the only poor game coming against Miami (read, Jake Long).
2010 Overall, performed at an above-average level in terms for a starting 34 OLB. Received good grades for his pass rushing. At 48, had an above average amount of total pressures for a pass rusher. Grades varied from week to week with several poorly graded games. Received atrocious grades for run coverage rating near the bottom of the category for both 34 OLB and pass rushers in general. From week to week, received very inconsistent grades.
Orakpo is still playing on his rookie deal. Per Rotowire,
7/30/2009: Signed a five-year, $15.4 million contract. The deal includes $12.1 million guaranteed. Another $4.6 million is available through incentives. 2011: $480,000, 2012: $765,000, 2013: $1.61 million, 2014: Free Agent
From a size and production standpoint, Orakpo’s ceiling is to play at the same level Cameron Wake and Terrell Suggs have the past two years. He has the same build and has a similarly effective package of powerful edge rushing tools.
Ahmad Brooks? Is that a bad thing?
Orakpo has yet to get to the level of production as Suggs or Wake but he is also four years younger than both of them. At 26, Orakpo may not have cemented himself as one of the top 5 pass rushers in the league, but he’s established a very high floor of the production Redskins fans can expect from him provided he stays healthy.