Washington Redskins: 15 best first-round draft picks of all time

Trent Williams, Washington Redskins. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Trent Williams, Washington Redskins. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /
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Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins
Brian Orakpo, Washington Redskins. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

One of two vaunted edge rushers to make this list, Brian Orakpo, for a time, was one of the most popular players on the Washington defense.

Playing college football with the Texas Longhorns, Orakpo was part of the squad led by Vince Young that won the 2005 National Championship and the 2006 Rose Bowl. In his time under then-head coach Mack Brown, Orakpo logged 23.0 sacks, 34.5 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles.

In spring of 2009, Orakpo was already a first-round prospect in the eyes of most evaluators. His NFL Combine performance only reinforced that belief. Orakpo ran a 4.63 40-yard dash, managed a whopping 31 bench reps. At the end of the day, he won over the Redskins, who would end up selecting him with the No. 13 overall pick in the ensuing NFL Draft.

Some rookies cave to the pressure and the esteem of the first round, but Orakpo didn’t disappoint. As a rookie, he racked up 11.0 sacks, making the Pro Bowl. In one game, he tied a Washington record with four sacks. By the end of his debut season, fans were already talking about the Pro Football Hall of Fame career he was destined to have.

Orakpo would stay productive for the Redskins, but he would not remain available. After making the Pro Bowl again in 2010 and logging 9.0 sacks as a Pro Bowl alternate in 2011, Orakpo missed most of the 2012 season with a pectoral tear.

He came back and made the Pro Bowl again in 2013, but in 2014, after seven games, he tore his pectoral again. The Redskins released him in the ensuing offseason, not eager to pay him a substantial deal with his recurring health issues.

Since that offseason, Orakpo has been with the Tennessee Titans. Interestingly enough, he hasn’t missed a single game as their starter. In three seasons with the Titans, Orakpo has produced 24.5 sack and he went to the Pro Bowl for a fourth time in 2016.

Orakpo hasn’t been as dominant as he was when he first came out, but now 31 years old, he’s still providing the quality play that teams expect from their first-round picks.

Orakpo won’t finish his career with Washington, but he remains one of the 15 best first-round picks to be selected by the team. His immediate impact is unmatched by many today, but one player who has him beat, in this regard, is the next player on the list.