Each and every year, NFL pundits of all shapes and sizes wrack their brains trying to predict the next group of “breakout” stars. Believe it or not, Washington Redskins right outside linebacker Brian Orakpo is one player that has come up in that very conversation for six offseasons in a row!
Orakpo was a first-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and the Redskins really thought they struck gold when the former Texas Longhorns‘ standout finished his rookie campaign with 11 sacks. However, five years later and Orakpo has yet to duplicate that kind of production in Washington. So as the outside linebacker nears his age-28 season, the Redskins remain rather torn on No. 98’s future with the franchise.
Moreover, Redskins general manager Bruce Allen placed the franchise tag on Orakpo, which keeps the All-Pro in the Nation’s capital for at least one more season. Furthermore, this isn’t the kind of contract that Orakpo had envisioned earlier in his career. Instead, the behemoth linebacker had hoped to be on top of the game by now with an NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award nicely tucked away in his trophy case — that hasn’t happened.
Hopefully, Orakpo can take this franchise tag in stride and force Allen into a long-term extension. However, the other end of the spectrum is that linebackers nearing the age of 30 aren’t exactly prized possessions. Therefore, Orakpo should enter the 2014 NFL season with a “make-it-or-break-it” kind of outlook.