While he may not be receiving much attention at the moment, Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo is still one of the best in the league at his position.
Entering an all-important fifth season here in our Nation’s Capital, Orakpo’s looking to rebound from a disappointing 2012 campaign derailed by a season-ending injury suffered in the second week of the season.
As ESPN’s NFC East blogger Dan Graziano counts down the top 20 players in the division, Orakpo is the first Redskin to appear on the list.
Graziano, who did similar rankings before the start of the 2012 season, has the outside linebacker as the 19th best player in the division, down five slots from No. 14 a year ago.
Of course looking at this from both a long-term and short-term perspective, this isn’t as bad as it seems for No. 98. Short-term, it proves that he had already garnished his reputation league-wide at being one of the best to find the quarterback. Remember, in his first two seasons he recorded 19.5 sacks and had two trips to the Pro Bowl (old AFC-NFC format).
In the long-term, the 27 year old is just entering his prime and there is the possibility that we have’t even seen the best of one Brian Orakpo yet.
In his first game since having surgery last fall, Orakpo bullied his way through one of the league’s best offensive lines and gobbled up Titans quarterback Jake Locker. Locker, who’s known for his mobility, couldn’t deflect Orakpo’s rush. His partner in crime and the front half of Kerrakpo (Ryan Kerrigan) also recorded a quarterback take down.
Everything went exactly according to plan.
“The Redskins defense continues to be designed around the idea of Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan as edge pass-rushers, which means it’s set up for those guys to pile up sacks. Kerrigan is entering his third NFL season, so he’s likely to draw more attention than he did as a rookie in 2011, the last time Orakpo was healthy and playing alongside him for an extended period of time…big things are in store for a player who’s shown the ability to be a top pass-rusher when he’s been healthy.”
Perhaps a little montage of Orakpo’s sack happy career to start your morning as well.
Oh and just so you know–there will be four more Redskins on the list.
Tags: Brian Orkapo, Dan Graziano
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