ESPN.com NFC East blogger Dan Graziano is in the midst of counting down his top 20 players in the division, and the Redskins have made their first appearance on the list.
Outside Brian Orakpo was ranked by Graziano today as the 14th-best player in the NFC East. He’ll apparently be one of two Redskins on this list, which has been and will be unveiled over a 20-day period.
Here’s a few snippets of what Graziano had to say about Orakpo:
“In another division, one not overstuffed with so many of the game’s elite pass-rushers, Orakpo likely would be more appreciated. He’s racked up 28.5 sacks in his first three years in the league — years that have seen him transition from a college linebacker to a professional defensive end and back to a professional 3-4 outside linebacker.”
“He’s shown disruptive ability in pass coverage (which is where he was when he got injured in Saturday’s preseason game), breaking up passes and forcing fumbles. He’s been a sure tackler in the open field. He has the versatility to do whatever’s asked of him in Jim Haslett’s scheme. But he’ll make his mark in the pass rush, and last season he graded out as fifth-best 3-4 outside linebacker in the league in that area.”
“Orakpo is a dirty-work guy whose numbers are fine and poised to get better. And the complete package of what he brings to his defense makes him worthy of his spot in the NFC East Top 20. “
Graziano’s NFC East Rankings so far:
14. Brian Orakpo, OLB, Redskins
15. Jason Witten, TE, Cowboys
16. Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys
17. DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles
18. Osi Umenyiora, DE, Giants
19. Evan Mathis, G, Eagles
20. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants
Graziano said there will be seven members of the New York Giants, six Philadelphia Eagles, five Dallas Cowboys and two Washington Redskins on this list.
I think that’s fair considering how the final standings ended up last year. But I’m also hoping an improved Redskins roster this season will parlay into at least a couple more team representatives on this list a year from now.
Here’s a poll for y’all to participate in:
Tags: Brian Orakpo, Dan Graziano, NFC East, washington redskins
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