Brian Orakpo, outside linebacker
2013 stats: 60 tackles, 10 sacks, 1 interception
Reasons for over 11 sacks:
- Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has stated he will be sending the linebackers after the quarterback more this season.
- The presence of Jason Hatcher at defensive end should free up Orakpo to attack more off the edge.
- Orakpo had 7 sacks in his last six games last season, so he can get sacks in bunches.
Reasons for under 11 sacks:
- The presence of Jason Hatcher might take some sacks away from Orakpo.
- Orakpo has never had over 11 sacks in his career before.
- Ryan Kerrigan might have a monster year and take sacks away from Orakpo.
Brian Orakpo has had double-digit sacks two times in his five-year career with the Washington Redskins. In his rookie season in 2009 he had 11 sacks and last season he had 10 sacks. So Orakpo clearly has the pass rushing ability to make it past 11 sacks, but he has yet to put together that monster season and be amongst the league leaders in sacks.
But Jim Haslett has stated that he was held back in his play calling defensively by the conservative nature of former head coach Mike Shanahan. And this season he will turn his outside linebacker loose more to go after the quarterback. And Jason Hatcher will be playing on the same side as Orakpo, so offenses will have to pick their poison as to which one they key on more.
So if Brian Orakpo stays healthy, then I think he will indeed surpass 11 sacks this season.
2014 Projection: 12.5 sacks