Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo recently stated at his annual charity golf tournament to the Washington Post’s Mike Jones, that “I don’t have to prove myself to anybody. I’m already proven in this league.” And while I agree with the second part of the quote, the first part is subject to debate.
It’s true, Brian Orkapo has proven himself to be a very good player in the NFL. He’s a multiple time all-pro, and known for being a good pass rusher. I think Orakpo is the best defensive player the Redskins have, and as I wrote in a previous article, I think the Redskins had to franchise him to ensure their best defender returned in 2014.
However, the fact that the Redskins and Orakpo couldn’t come to an agreement on a long-term contract suggests that the team didn’t feel his value was quite worth what he was asking. So to that extent Orakpo does have something to prove. He needs to prove to the Redskins that he’s worth giving a long-term deal beyond this season.
And while Orakpo has had some good seasons for the Redskins, he has yet to have that truly dominant season where he’s challenging for the NFL sack title. Looking at the second half of the 2013 season, where Orakpo had seven sacks over his last six games, I think it’s obvious that he is more than capable of being among the league leaders in sacks.
And maybe this will happen that season. But if the Redskins are to return to the playoffs on 2014, then having Brian Orakpo turn in a truly dominant performance can only help in that endeavor. And I know Redskins fans want to see that from Brian Orakpo. But at the end of the day seeing is believing.