Prospects

Prospects
Photo of Brian Orakpo
Brian Orakpo (DE)
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 263
College: Texas
Conference: Big 12
Hometown: Houston, TX
High School: Lamar
Featured Prospects
Selected by: Washington Redskins
Round: 1
Pick (Overall): 13 (13)
Discuss
Pick Analysis: Orakpo unexpectedly falls to the Redskins at No. 13. Though he was projected by many as a hybrid rusher, Orakpo will play as a conventional edge rusher alongside Pro Bowler Albert Haynesworth. With the big man occupying double teams inside, Orakpo has an opportunity to record double-digit sacks in his first season due to a high number of man-on-man blocks off the edge.
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis
Overview

Orakpo, a product of the Texas training program, came to the university as a lanky basketball player, but is leaving the school as a rock-solid defensive end.


He worked his way up the depth chart to earn a starting job as a junior. Despite lost time in each of his last two years due to knee injuries, he filled his mantelpiece this winter, capturing Big Twelve Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. He also claimed the Lombardi Award (best lineman), Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player) and Hendricks Award (best defensive end).


When Orakpo arrived on campus as a freshman, he weighed 210 pounds. He has added over 50 pounds of muscle to his frame, yet still maintains a body fat level of just eight percent. Teammate and fellow defensive lineman Roy Miller says that Orakpo transformed from Steve Urkel into Arnold Schwarzenegger over the past five years. One of the strongest members of the team, he was named the nation's top workout warrior by ESPN. In a recent workout exhibition, he bench pressed 515 pounds, with a 600-pound squat and a 380-pound power clean.


At Lamar High School, Orakpo lettered three times in football as a defensive end. He was a two-time first-team All-District selection and helped his team to a 29-8 mark in those three seasons. He also saw action at tight end. In his final season, he was tabbed second-team All-Greater Houston and All-District 18-5A, despite missing one-third of his year with an injury.


Orakpo managed to register 36 tackles, nine quarterback sacks and 12 stops for loss in 2003, helping the team compile an 11-2 record to reach the state quarterfinals. As a junior, the All-District and All-Greater Houston choice was credited with 10 sacks as his team went to the regional finals. He also lettered in basketball during his freshman through junior years.


Orakpo suited up for the first two games of the 2004 season for Texas, but the coaches decided it was best to redshirt their lanky first-year player. The following season, he appeared in 13 games, starting the Baylor clash at "quick" defensive end, a position manned by Brian Robison. Orakpo posted 19 tackles (11 solo) with a sack, three stops for losses and nine pressures in 2005.


Robison still held on to the defensive end job in 2006, but eventually shared time with Orakpo. An intense offseason weight-training program helped Orakpo return to fall drills as a 248-pounder. He started vs. Ohio State and played in reserve the rest of the season, but registered 17 tackles (13 solo) to go with five sacks and five pressures.


With both starting ends having departed, Orakpo laid claim to the quick end position, starting eight of the nine games he appeared in. A right knee sprain vs. Arkansas State sidelined the junior for four contests. He would collect 27 tackles (19 solos) to go with 5.5 sacks and seven pressures, but the best was yet to come.


The consensus All-American ranked sixth in the nation with 11.5 sacks, as Texas paced the NCAA in that category, as the defense averaged 3.62 sacks per game. He delivered 40 tackles (32 solo) with 17.5 stops for losses and 15 pressures in 12 games, sitting out vs. Baylor after spraining his left knee in the third quarter vs. Texas Tech, doing what he does best -- chasing down the quarterback.


High School

Attended Lamar (Houston, Tex.) High School, playing football for head coach Tom Nolan...Lettered three times in football as a defensive end...Two-time first-team All-District choice and helped his team to a 29-8 mark in those three seasons...Also saw action at tight end... In his final season, he was tabbed second-team All-Greater Houston and All-District 18-5A, despite missing one-third of his year with an injury...Still managed to register 36 tackles, nine quarterback sacks and 12 stops for losses in 2003, helping the team compile an 11-2 record to reach the state quarterfinals...As a junior, the All-District and All-Greater Houston choice was credited with 10 sacks as his team went to the regional finals...Also lettered in basketball during his freshman through junior years...Honor Roll student, graduating with a 3.0 grade point average.


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Analysis

Positives: Good height and upper-body build. Plays with his hand down and can also stand up. Easily gets off blocks from tackles to make a play in the hole. Can also hold his ground well against larger tackles. Has good backfield awareness, watching for misdirection, cutbacks and bootlegs. Closes on the quarterback well and secures the tackle. Shows adequate fluidity dropping on zone blitzes to handle short-area zone coverage as a 3-4 rush linebacker.


Negatives: Might need to play on the strong side in the pros because he lacks great explosion and pass rush off the edge. Can be easily pushed around the pocket if he tries to use an outside speed move. Gets sacks from hustle and effort. Does not always change direction quickly enough to make the play on the outside. Needs to use his punch more often to get tackles off balance on the pass rush. Durability concern. Missed multiple games due to knee injuries in both 2007 and '08 -- his two seasons as a starter.


Compares To: LEONARD LITTLE, St. Louis -- Don't get fooled by all the awards he won in 2008, as Texas did a great job of publicizing him with "padded" statistics (they claimed he recorded 30 pressures in 2008, but the NCAA recognized just 15; his profile reports 62 pressures for his career, but verified totals are 36). Still, he is a quality edge rusher that some teams are looking at as a potential linebacker, but whether he has the range to play there is a big question. Use him as a rush end, much like the Rams do with Little, and he will get a good piece of the quarterback. Put him in a stand-up position and you run the risk of seeing him struggle like former Houston Texan Jason Babin.


Injury Report

2007: Suffered a right knee sprain in the season opener vs. Arkansas State (9/01), missing the next four contests vs. Texas-El Paso, Rice, Arkansas and Colorado.


2008: Left the Texas Tech game (11/01) in the third quarter with a left knee sprain, sitting out the next game vs. Baylor and only appeared for a handful of plays vs. Kansas (11/15).


2009: Could not complete the agility tests at the NFL Combine due to a hamstring strain.


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