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FREE-AGENCY FODDER: DE BRIAN ORAKPO

 
FREE-AGENCY FODDER: DE BRIAN ORAKPO

  • Height: 6'3" - Weight: 255 lbs
  • Age: 27 years old
  • Drafted: 1st Round, 13th overall in 2009 NFL Draft
  • 2013 Statistical Snapshot (15 games started): 10 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 43 tackles

VIEW FROM THE VOX: So far with "Free-Agency Fodder" all of the focus has been on defense because that's where we need to hit hard in free agency and the draft. Other than securing a long-term solution at QB and maybe a little help on the OL I feel we are solid as an offense, and I am excited to see what new OC NORV TURNER'S schemes look like. The receiving group is very good, I like the tight ends, the starting RB, the FB, and if they are to replace an offensive lineman it most likely would be LG CHARLIE JOHNSON with a drafted guy, JEFF BACA or JOE BERGER.

Defensively and as I have mentioned/written I think we'll have about six new starters next season when we line up in MIKE ZIMMER'S 4-3 "base" defense. Thus, I am interested in exploring whether Redskins stud OLB BRIAN ORAKPO can transition to DE in a 4-3 defense. He played the position so well at Texas he dominated his way to the 13th pick of the 2009 draft. He'd probably need to put on a little weight to hold down a DE spot but I'd be interested in giving it a whirl.

My unofficial free-agency rankings for DEs has him listed second best behind Carolina's GREG HARDY and one spot clear of Cincy's MICHAEL JOHNSON. Orakpo in my estimation is the best of those three against the run and like Hardy and Johnson can play RDE if the team moves on sans JARED ALLEN.

Orakpo signed a five-year deal out of college and is an unrestricted FA. Washington is strapped for talent and draft picks and would be foolish to let him walk, but the chance is there given they have no deal with him at this stage. The Redskins run defense over the years has been very stout due to the play of Orakpo and fellow OLB RYAN KERRIGAN. They have been LBs in JIM HASLETT'S 3-4 defense but of the two Orakpo seems better suited to play DE in the 4-3.

Orakpo isn't the most explosive guy on the market and may cost in the neighborhood of $17 million guaranteed, but we will have the money to spend of we opt to go this way. The hope is we land two studs with all of our FA money and use three of our first four picks on defense, with at least two of those guys starting and making a difference. New potential starters already on the roster could include SHARRIF FLOYD, MICHAEL MAUTI and/or GERALD HODGES, and they all should be better prepared off their rookie seasons. Still, we need more depth throughout the defense with a couple of studs like Orakpo and maybe CB ALTERRAUN VERNER. That will help us have a better chance at reclaiming the NFC North title and get us back to the playoffs.

*Photo - Ezra Shaw (Getty Images)

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