Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

2014 Redskins Free Agents - Brian Orakpo - Buy or Sell?

2014 Redskins Free Agents.  The Washington Redskins drafted Brian Orakpo with the 13th pick in first round of the 2009 draft.  In college at Texas, Orakpo was a defensive end playing in a 4-3 defense.  But the Redskins chose to use him as an outside linebacker in their 4-3 defense as a rookie under then head coach Jim Zorn.

Orakpo adapted well in the 4-3 defense and had 11 sacks as a rookie.  He would often put his hand down as a defensive end on third downs and in obvious passing situations.  This led to Orakpo being selected as a rookie to the Pro Bowl.  The Redskins were ranked 10th in the NFL in total defense in 2009 under defensive coordinator Greg Blache.

Zorn was fired and replaced by Mike Shanahan in 2010, and Shanahan switched the defensive scheme to a 3-4 defense and hired Jim Haslett as his defensive coordinator.   Orakpo was kept as an outside linebacker in his second season, and registered 8.5 sacks in 2010, but the Redskins defense plummeted from 10th in 2009 to 31st in 2010.

Orakpo made the pro bowl again in 2010, and he remained a force defensively in 2011, and had 9 sacks on the season.  Orakpo’s 2012 season was cut short by a torn pectoral muscle, and he only played in 2 games registering just 1 sack on the season.  However, even without Orakpo, the Redskins won the NFC East division title in 2012.

Orakpo returned to the lineup in 2013, and although he set himself a goal to become the Defensive Player of the Year, he began the season very slowly.  However, he steadily gained momentum as the season progressed, and he had a dominant finish to the season compiling 10 sacks on the year.

Over the course of five seasons Orakpo has registered 39.5 sacks, 6 forced fumbles, and 1 interception.  There have been times when he’s been a dominant player, but he hasn’t been able to put an entire season together where he dominated consistently from start to finish.  Orakpo is now a free agent this offseason.

At only 27 years of age, its possible that Orakpo’s best seasons may still lie ahead of him.  And he was the Redskins best defensive player the second half of 2013 and one of it’s most consistent since 2009.  He’s the Redskins best pass rusher, and at this point I don’t think they can afford to lose him.  So I say “Buy” on Brian Orakpo.

The only question that really needs to be answered in my mind is whether or not the Redskins will sign him to a long-term contract or use the franchise tag on him?  But what do you say on Brian Orakpo?  Buy or Sell?


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