Having a dynamic pass rush duo and a potentially dominant left tackle protecting your franchise quarterback is obviously something most NFL teams desire.
The Washington Redskins appear to have both of those locked down in outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan and left tackle Trent Williams.
This was apparent in two recent ESPN.com articles projecting the best players at their position for the 2015 season. Orakpo (No. 9 overall) and Kerrigan (honorable mention) were named to the top pass rushers list of 2015, while Williams (honorable mention) was listed on the top offensive linemen of 2015.
Here’s what ESPN.com writer Matt Williamson had to say about projecting Orakpo in 2015:
“Orakpo won’t turn 26 until the end of July and has already accomplished quite a bit in the NFL. He might be just a step behind the truly elite athletes on this list, but Orakpo is no slouch. He is also durable, consistent and tough — attributes that can’t be overlooked and rub off on his teammates. Led by Orakpo, the Redskins have a good defensive front that is quite young. Last year’s first-round pick Ryan Kerrigan should be an excellent pass-rushing edge complement to Orakpo for years to come.”
Kerrigan, meanwhile, will be just 27 years old when the 2015 season rolls around. He also showed his durability in his 2011 rookie season in which he didn’t miss an entire defensive snap all year en route to 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception that he returned for a touchdown. If Kerrigan continues to improve (as he’s done each year since his high school and college days) I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pass others above him on this list — and fast.
Other NFC East players who made this pass-rushers list: Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, New York Giants (No. 1); DeMarcus Ware, OLB, Dallas Cowboys (No. 11); and Trent Cole, DE, Philadelphia Eagles (No. 15).
Williams, meanwhile, is hoping to utilize the 2012 season to blossom into the dominant left tackle the Redskins and Williams hoped he could be when the team drafted him fourth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. Williams will also be 27 during the 2015 season, and you’d like to think he’d be entering his third year protecting current rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III at that time.
For Griffin III to truly flourish, he needs adequate pass protection, and the Redskins’ coaching staff feels his blind side will be well-protected by Williams for years to come.
Other NFC East players who made the offensive linemen list: Tyron Smith, LT, Dallas Cowboys (No. 2); Jason Peters, LT, Philadelphia Eagles (No. 15); and Evan Mathis, G, Philadelphia Eagles (honorable mention).
Click here for a link to the article about the pass rushers and click here for a link to the article about the offensive linemen. Disclaimer: You must be subscribed to ESPN Insider to read the entire articles.
These projections are among many that have been done by ESPN.com writers/experts in recent weeks. For example, ESPN.com broke down their top projected NFL teams in 2015. The Redskins came in at No. 20 overall.
Since then, the site has also projected its top running backs, wide receivers and tight ends for 2015. No Redskins players made the list for running backs or wide receivers, but Fred Davis was tabbed as the No. 5 future tight end in the NFL.
Here’s my typical warning for these projections: Take them with a grain of salt. Though they’re usually compiled by using statistics, common sense and opinion, lists like these are generally just seen as interesting filler for the offseason.
Tags: Brian Orakpo, ryan kerrigan, trent williams, washington redskins
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