Washington Redskins’ right outside linebacker Brian Orakpo seems to be fully recovered from the torn right triceps muscle that ended his 2012 NFL season. He participated in the team’s organized team activities (OTA’s) without any sort of limitations. It seems like Washington will be able to fully integrate Orakpo back into the defensive unit. His 29.5 career sacks during his four year career in Washington solidify his efficiency as a pass rushing specialist. Orakpo’s presence definitely would have improved the Redskins’ 30th ranked pass defense in 2012.
2013 is the final year of Orakpo’s contract, and Washington would be wise to sign him to a long term deal. It can be reasoned that the Redskins will get a player in Orakpo that will have something to prove. Washington’s defensive unit felt the impact of Orakpo’s absence. While left outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan led the Redskins with 8.5 sacks in 2012, no other defender had more than 4.5 sacks. Not being able to generate a consistent pass rush put pressure on Washington’s secondary to contain the opposing team’s receivers. Needless to say, they were unsuccessful in their containment in 2012.
The Redskins qualified for postseason play despite their porous defense. It was a unit that, aside from Kerrigan and inside linebacker London Fletcher, lacked consistent playmakers. Reserve outside linebacker Rob Jackson played well as Orakpo’s replacement. However, he will miss the first four games of the 2013 season to serve a suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The Redskins lack considerable depth at linebacker, so Jackson’s absence further illustrates Washington’s need to resign Orakpo to a long term deal.
The Redskins’ recent history has been plagued with bad free agent signings. Orakpo is one of the few draft selections that has actually panned out for Washington. He is a proven playmaker that not only could propel the Redskins back into the playoffs in 2013, but quite possibly propel them through a deep playoff run. That’s why team owner Daniel M. Snyder would be prudent to use his millions to lock up Orakpo long term instead of a high priced replacement.