This is going to be a controversial thread and one that will doubtless get me flack; but the more I read posters talking about tying Brian Orakpo before his rookie deal runs out at the end of this season; or how he's going to come back in beast mode this year; I can't help asking if he is both highly overrated around these here parts; and if we should be looking to cash in and think about trading 'Rak?
I can hear the cry's of distain to those notions as I type, so let me explain what brings me to that line of thinking.
We drafted Orakpo back in 2009 with the 13th. overall pick. At the time, I was personally disappointed, as I really wanted Ole Miss' Michael Oher (Who I think still has a real high ceiling and is among the top end of RT's in this league); as I considered LT at the time a far bigger need than a rush end/ OLB edge rusher. But we plumped for the Longhorn. Given his college record, I quickly came around to the idea and he certainly didn't disappoint in a great, 11 sack rookie season that lead to a PB appearance. But ever since, for all the plaudits he gets from 'Skins fans, he has never fully kicked on for me to justify the hype.
Don't get me wrong, he can still collapse the pocket and wreck haveck in the backfield, but his limitations within that certainly don't justify the esteem many hold him in IMHO. He has one move, period. And that's to bull rush opponents. There's nothing else in his pass rush reportoi. Folk embarrassingly claim he gets unfairly held like that doesn't happen all over the league to evey decent pass rusher worth his salt. The difference being the great ones have multiple moves to beat those holds. Brian doesn't. 4 years into his pro career. To hear Reddkin fans talk, you'd think he was our answer to DeMarcus Ware. When in truth, it would be insulting to Ware to put him in the same bracket. The numbers alone don't deserve comparison. Orakpo, whilst far from bad, is a one trick poney who's limitations in a 34 are glaring. As a pure rush end in a 43 D, or edge rushing OLB, he'd be pretty darn effective. But when the responsibility's go up as a 34 LB, he's found wanting. His pass coverage skills leave a LOT to be desired. And that's imperative for the position in this D. And in NFC East games, he has a woeful record of 3.5 sacks through 18 games. That is NOT the record of a great pass rusher.
Good and effective player no doubt. Great player he most assuredly isn't.
And when you look at what we're developing here in the LB core, you begin to question even more if he's worth paying the money he'll demand.
Ryan Kerrigan for me is everything 'Rak isn't. And a far better overall player. He has a non stop motor, works his tail end off to improve (back to the 4 year vet Orakpo and his one rush move); and he is good in pass pro. Ryan's far more than just a pass rusher. (And his numbers are comparable to Orakpo.). He can do what Brian can't. Make big tackles in the open field. A staple of a 34 LB's job.
The same with Rob Jackson. I'm not for one minute suggesting Rob's as talented as Brian. But as an all round 34 LB his worth is higher than Orakpo's IMHO. He's far better in coverage, has the same constant motor as Kerrigan. And he's shown he can contribute in turnovers and sacks and getting into opposing backfields. And let's not forget last years very prudent 4th round pick, Keenan Robinson; was real versatile in college and was a very effective edge rusher with his speed an athleticism when lined up there for the Longhorns.
Again, I fully expect flack as this goes against the norm questioning a current fan favourite.
But all things considered, not least his shoulder/ pectoral muscle injury concerns; I seriously wonder whether we might be better cashing in on 'Rak whilst we still can in the coming months rather than thinking about extending and over paying for a guy who just does'nt live upto the plaudits if you look beyond the hype.
Edited by Gibbs Hog Heaven, 13 September 2013 - 10:31 AM.