Archive for the ‘Brian Orakpo’ Category

Draft Preview: Denver Broncos

April 17, 2009
Pick 12: Denver Broncos
Strengths: Wide receivers
Weaknesses: Franchise quarterback jiltee
The Pick: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU

New head coach Josh McDaniels may be an offensive wonderkind, but that doesn’t change Denver’s glaring needs on defense. There’s a certain bionic quarterback prospect still sitting on the board, but McDaniels should resist the temptation.

Jackson was a vital cog on LSU’s 2007 national championship team and had a productive career as a defensive end in the SEC, which is always a good sign. He’s not the pass rusher that a player like Brian Orakpo is, but he’s probably the most versatile DE prospect available this year. Jackson actually distinguished himself more as a solid run stopper, with 10.5 tackles for loss in 2008.

As a five-year player who started or saw time in more than 50 games at LSU, Jackson has an abundance of playing experience, which is rare among stud college defensive ends. He won’t wow the fans, but Jackson is a solid pick for the Ponies.

Draft Preview: Green Bay Packers

April 11, 2009
Pick 9: Green Bay Packers
Strengths: Passing game, linebacker
Weaknesses: Overrated running back, pass rush
The Pick: Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State

Homerism can hear the chanting from Lambeau now: “DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE!” Man, do the Packers need some tough guys to shore up that side of the ball, because they really aren’t too far away from contending.

A nasty pass rusher is a good place to start, and Penn Stater Maybin definitely fits the bill. Maybin isn’t quite the sure thing that Texas DE Brian Orakpo is, but he definitely has the kind of upside that makes an even more intriguing prospect. Despite the smallish sample size scouts have to judge Maybin by, his on-field production should be enough to alleviate any concerns about not having spent enough time developing in college.

Maybin also presents the Pack with the advantage of having played in the cold at Happy Valley and other Big Ten towns. That biting Green Bay wind and snow offers an advantage to the home team, but only if Pack players actually do deal with it better than their opponents. It may seems foolish to draft a guy based on weather, but ask teams like Tampa Bay how they like playing in Green Bay and New England in early January.

Draft Preview: Cleveland Browns

April 7, 2009
Pick 5: Cleveland Browns
Strengths: Offensive skill positions
Weaknesses: Pass rush, chemistry
The Pick: Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas

Like his counterpart in Seattle, new Browns coach Eric Mangini brings a defense-centric mindset to Cleveland. Outside of the fact that he’s grossly overrated as a head coach, that makes Man-genuis a great candidate to right the Browns’ ship. The Brownies finished 26th in total defense last season. If you’re looking for the main culprit in this collapse, consider that Cleveland finished next to last in the league with a putrid 17 sacks.

So, Homerism agrees with the conventional wisdom that this team desparately needs a pass rusher. A hybrid linebacker-defensive end would work well in Mangini’s 3-4 defensive scheme. However, if the Browns really want to get after the quarterback, they should go with a true defensive end.

Orakpo tormented opposing passers pretty consistently throughout his career in Austin. As a senior he took his game to another level, earning defensive player of the year in the Big 12. Granted, that was a bit like winning the tallest midget award in 2008, but Orakpo is legit. For instance, Orakpo thoroughly dominated Oklahoma tackle Phil Loadholt in the Red River Shootout, and the Texas defensive end’s absence in the loss to Texas Tech made it look like the Longhorns were trying to defend the Air Raid with a hand tied behind their backs.
Other defensive ends such as Aaron Maybin may appear to have a higher ceiling. Yet, none can boast Orakpo’s combination of talent and on-field production. He is the premier pass rusher in the draft this year.