The second installment of my all time favorite Redskins is Brian Orakpo, or ‘Rak!
Rak is entering his 5 year as a Redskin after being selected 13th overall in the 2009 draft. The fact that he slipped to the Redskins at no. 13 was a complete shock to me as he was someone i followed at the University of Texas. He was a beast of a talent at UT and dominated so many games for the Longhorns. There were quite a few mock drafts that had him going in the top 5 and being the first or second DE taken that year. I don’t believe there has ever been a real explanation for why he slipped, but i’ve always felt that many NFL scouts saw him as one of those ‘workout warrior’ guys that looked better working out than actually playing the game. Rak was drafted as a DE which is what he played in college, but was drafted to play LB for the Redskins next to London Fletcher. The transition has for him has worked well, but it has also exposed some of his limitations as a football player. When the Redskins drafted Ryan Kerrigan in 2011, they developed a nice bookend with each other that were able to get to the QB and apply pressure throughout the season. As with all football players, he does have limitations, but has proven to be well worth his high selection…in my opinion.
Brian Orakpo would be higher on my list, but with the injuries he’s suffered in the past two seasons…i’m not really sure when he will be 100% again. He has always managed to bring an extremely high level of intensity to the field and passion to the sidelines. Watching him on the sidelines most of last season without football equipment was heartbreaking, especially with the new found success the Washington Redskins experienced last year. I’m hoping he is able to get healthy and create a dominating tandem with Kerrigan and some of the other guys that stepped up in his place this year (Lorenzo Alexander, Rob Jackson and Perry Riley).
When Rak joined the Redskins i was all in on his cards and bid on his autos regularly on ebay as well as some game used jersey cards that will look great once i have a sports room to display them!
One of my best memories of Rak was being at the first game of the 2010 season in Landover, MD against the rival Dallas Cowboys. My first home Redskins game ever! I had been to a few Cowboy vs. Redskins games, but they were always in Irving. Rak was having a really good game and putting a ton of pressure on Romo all night long, but just couldn’t get to him…mainly because he was being held on nearly every play. On the final play of the game with about 13 seconds and the Cowboys in the redzone threatening to score a touchdown and win the game. Rak came around from the left side and just missed sacking Romo…as Romo completed a pass in the end zone to Roy Williams to tie the game. BUT WAIT! There was a flag! The officials finally called holding on the Cowboys offensive line. Game over. Redskins win 13-7 on Sunday night in Landover. Fantastic finish!
#12 – The Hogs
#11 – Brian Orakpo