The Philadelphia Eagles were just one missed kick away from moving on in the playoffs this past season. In order to build upon what was an improbable and miraculous turnaround season in 2013, the Eagles will have to make some huge decisions regarding its roster coming into this offseason. Many players will be brought in through free agency and the NFL Draft while others have been seen for the last time wearing green. One of the most glaring needs that the Eagles will look to fulfill this offseason is a pass-rushing outside linebacker. At first, it was tough for Eagles’ defenders to transition to a 3-4 defense in the first season under defensive coordinator Bill Davis. However, as the season wore on, more players began to adjust to the system, and Philadelphia stepped up in some crucial moments of the season.
Despite winning the NFC East crown, it simply wasn’t because of the defense. The 29th ranked unit in the NFL is still a work in progress, and Philadelphia will look to make some big splashes in free agency and the draft to rebuild this entire unit. Not only does this defense need talent, but it needs veteran leadership that can take over and be an impact player the moment he arrives.
If the Eagles are looking for this, they should look no further than Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo.
At 6-foot-4, 257-pounds, the Pro Bowl linebacker is a physical beast and would be just what the Eagles need to bolster up this defense. Despite missing the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL, Orakpo enjoyed his second-best season as a pro in 2013. He finished the year with 60 tackles to go along with 10 sacks, and he even added a pick-six to his stat sheet. In what was a dark and gloomy 2013 season for the Redskins, Orakpo definitely shined. Playing on a defense that surrendered 29.9 points per game and was ranked 18th in the NFL, he accounted for nearly a third of all of Washington’s sacks. The Eagles would be thankful for his services as Philadelphia was 20th in the NFL in sacks a year ago. In addition, the Eagles would probably rather have this division rival on their sideline as Orakpo has given Eagles’ quarterbacks nightmares in the past.
Looking at what he has to offer, Orakpo would be just the fit to revamp this 3-4 defense. He gives the Eagles a pass-rusher they have been calling for for seasons. His veteran leadership and experience linebacker can help this young defense really grasp the game. Now, this can only happen if the Redskins part ways with Orakpo. Redskins ownership and front office have already said that re-signing Orakpo is one of their top priorities this offseason. However, owners have said that before and have failed to get the job done. If he hits the free agent market, Philadelphia should be one of the first ones trying to lure him over. Besides, wouldn’t it be enticing for Orakpo to come over and terrorize him former team wearing eagle green? Hopefully the Eagles do all they can to make this fantasy a reality during free agency.