Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sack Machine

Now i understand that Sacks do not win football games. Last year the league leader in Sacks were the Dallas Cowboys who failed to make the playoffs. But you can't over-look the importance of putting pressure on the opposing QB. Since about February of this year I have been high on Defensive End Brian Orakpo. His drive, strength, motor, maturity, and talent had proven him to be the class of this years Defensive players in the Draft. My surprise as teams passed on him all the way to number 13. Kansas City reached for a different Defensive End in Tyson Jackson, who was rated much lower. The Packers and Bills both took Defensive linemen before Brian Orakpo was taken, while these teams have clearly seen their folly by now, their loss was the Redskins gain.

Brian Orakpo was brought in to rush the passer. But the redskins had a more pressing need at linebacker. So the team thought they would mold him into a hybrid style player. This had some good in it, despite removing him from his natural position. It helped Orakpo develop more skills as a run stopper and in pass coverage. His transition made him a complete defender. But his shining moments have come with his hand in the dirt. 11 sacks on the season for the rookie. Earlier this year there was talk that recently rookies with decent sack totals have been a bust in later years. Gaines Adams came in his rookie season with 6 sacks but has yet to top that in two more seasons. Amobi Okoye had 5.5 his rookie year two years later his career total is 8. David Harris had 5 in his rookie season two years later his career total is 11. The biggest disappointments has been Bears player Mark Anderson who had 12 sacks his rookie year has never regained his former magic. Orakpo stands apart form these men as one of the Few whose sack total and ability do not look like a one year wonder. His ability to get after the passer is comparable to Dwight Freeny, Shawne Merriman, Jevon Kearse, and Julius Peppers. As are his rookie numbers. What makes his ability more amazing is that unlike the Sack kings mentioned above, he only gets to rush the passer half the time. The rest he is forced into coverage situations. Next season there is no reason to believe Orakpo will do anything other than play DE and that is when we will see what this amazing athlete is capable of. The rookie sack Record is 14.5 Orakpo stands at 11 with three games remaining, if he can break that record then Washington will have a Rookie of the year on their squad for the first time since 1975.

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