Before the start of the 2012 NFL Season, the Washington Redskins seemed to have no superstar. LB London Fletcher seemed to be the only veteran player who could even come close to superstardom, with most analysts agreeing he was underrated. Yet, the emergence of LB Brian Orakpo, the no. 13 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, gave hope to many Redskins fans. In Orakpo’s first three seasons with the Redskins, he recorded 108 solo tackles, five forced fumbles and 28.5 sacks while only missing one game. With great backfield awareness, Orakpo is not only able to drop into short coverage for the zone blitz, but he excels at block shedding and pressuring the quarterback. At 6’4″ and 257 pounds, no. 98 — Orakpo — is a force to be dealt with.
When the Redskins drafted Orakpo, they knew he was going to play hard. Throughout his college football career at the University of Texas, he was given the Lombardi Award for best lineman, the Hendricks Award for best defensive end and the Nagurski Trophy for best defensive player. He was also named the Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year and was recognized as an All-American. Remarkable enough, Orakpo started his college career as a tall, skinny basketball player, eventually transforming his body into a massive defensive end. Now a linebacker in the NFL, his teammates will look to him in the 2013 NFL Season for support and leadership.
The 2013 NFL Season will be Orakpo’s last year with the Redskins unless a deal can be reached. Although no talks are in progress, Orakpo claims he is not worried and would rather focus on the upcoming games and his own personal performance. In 2009, Orakpo signed a five-year, $15.4 million rookie contract with $12.1 million guaranteed and a $3.5 million signing bonus. Although he was taken at a high price, his performance for his first three seasons proved him well worth it. After only playing in two games in the 2012 NFL Season, fans are beginning to worry about his value to the Redskins. Head Coach Mike Shanahan is worried as well, or contract negotiations would have already started. Orakpo will have to play and earn his spot as a Redskins superstar.