Because Brian Orakpo fell to the 13th pick, was one of the most versatile defensive players in the draft, and improves an area where the Redskins were lacking. Defensive coordinator Greg Blache doesn't blitz, but that doesn't mean the Redskins couldn't use some pressure on the quarterback. That's (presumably, though we can't really be sure with Vinny Cerrato and Dan Snyder at the helm) why they coughed up a second-round draft pick for Jason Taylor. With injuries hampering Taylor, the Redskins managed only a paltry 24 sacks.
The chiseled 6-foot-4 260-pound specimen brings an added dimension to the Skins' defense for 2009. He's fast enough to handle short pass coverage and speed rusher, while also strong enough to take on blockers from either the defensive line or outside linebacker. During OTAs, Orakpo has been working with both defensive ends and linebackers. Head coach Jim Zorn has stated that Orakpo will be used at linebacker on presumed running downs and end on presumed passing downs. Getting after the passer shouldn't be an issue, that's what Orakpo does. The transition to outside linebacker, though, is still an ongoing process.
"I'm still trying to get acclimated to [linebacker], but I'm doing okay right now," Orakpo said. "I know I can do better at pass drops and reading coverages better and stuff, but that just all comes over time. So once OTAs get going and come training camp I should be full go."It would be pretty unreasonable to expect Orakpo to simply step in and fill the outside like he's Lawrence Taylor -- though I'm sure Washington fans wouldn't mind that happening. Plus, it's more than three months until the season begins. There's going to be a learning curve, but -- as Orakpo points out -- he's still a football player.
"I'm feeling the difference, but it is still football," Orakpo said. "If you know what you're doing, you can play fast. If you don't, that's when you kind of get left behind. But what I try to do is go in and know what I'm doing, study my playbook, study the plays that we put in that day and try to play fast."In the end, I still firmly believe this was a solid draft pick for the Redskins and they'll consider themselves fortunate they weren't able to complete the trade for Mark Sanchez. Orakpo's got Pro Bowl talent and versatility.