Sack specialist Brian Orakpo was selected by the Washington Redskins with the thirteenth overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft out of the University of Texas. Orakpo burst on to the NFL scene his rookie year posting a career high eleven sacks to go along with fifty tackles and a forced fumble.
Orakpo was drafted for his ability to rush the quarterback, and that is without a doubt Orakpo’s best skill. However, throughout his career Orakpo has evolved into a more complete outside linebacker. This was on display throughout the 2013 season in which Orakpo bounced back from a torn pectoral muscle that forced him to miss the majority of the 2012 season. In 2013 Orakpo returned to form posting ten sacks (his highest total since his rookie season) while also returning his first interception for a touchdown.
Orakpo has been a three time pro bowler in his five years in the league, and that includes the 2012 season in which he missed the majority of the season. This offseason Orakpo was franchise tagged by the Redskins and signed the one year tender to stay with the team. Orakpo is under a one year contract with a new head coach, he has one year to prove two things: that he is an elite pass rusher, and that he can stay healthy. If Orakpo can succeed in proving these two things, the redskins will want to lock up the pro bowl outside linebacker to a long term contract.
The cap penalties that have hampered the Redskins financial spending the past two seasons are over, and with more money to spend this offseason the Redskins made it a priority to improve its pass rush. The Redskins hope to have succeeded in bolstering its pass rush with the free agent addition of defensive end Jason Hatcher. With the motivation to perform well under the one year “prove it” contract, coupled with an improved defense around him, look for Orakpo to break out in 2014 for the skins.