Monday, January 5, 2009

Player Anatomy: DE Brian Orakpo, Texas

Character / Leadership Ability: Orakpo established himself as a leader in the Texas locker room before the 2008 season began. His work in the weight room over the summer was well documented in the national news. He is a leader by example, but will not be afraid to verbally lead. Orakpo is a high character person and player.

Competitive Nature / Work Ethic:
Works hard on every snap. Doesn’t take plays off. Plays hard late in games and seems to turn it up a notch on third downs. Is a big-game player. Will not have any issues with working hard.

Football Intelligence: Orakpo gets by on his athleticism, but you can tell he has spent time in the film room. He translates film to field well. He made great adjustments early against Texas Tech (2008) to stop screens and draw plays.

Size: The Longhorn has freakish size and strength--the ideal defensive end.

Athletic Ability: Is very strong and athletic. He does run well, but will not clock below 4.6. Has great arm strength and an astonishing vertical jump.

Toughness / Durability: The senior missed four games in 2007 with a sprained knee. He is a tough player who will stay on the field when it’s possible.

Quickness: Orakpo is quick off the edge and shows great burst. He’s asked to anchor and drop a lot. Film may not show him pinning his ears back and racing to the QB. Plays good, quick, assignment football.

Unbelievable strength. Will be able to compete from day one in the NFL. Should not struggle to adjust to NFL left tackles although he may need to get stronger in his lower body to hold up against the run. Can completely take over a game with his strength. Can squat 600+ lbs, power cleans 380 lbs and actually has some room to grow.

Instincts / Recognition: Shows natural instincts against the run. Orakpo anchors very well for a right end. Does a great job of staying at home and reading the play. Puts what he sees on film into action on the field.

Pass Rush: He is more of a complete end. Shows a good double move. Improved in ‘08 with a bull rush and better hand placement, although scouts would like to see him turn the corner more consistently. His nine sacks were good for 10th in the country. He completely dominated Oklahoma LT Phil Loadholt, a future day one pick. Has started to show a very good outside-in move, which he really uses well by baiting the tackle to commit outside then cutting back inside. Will hesitate off the line intentionally at times, which may not work in the NFL.

Pursuit: Is a chase-defender, who will run down the line in pursuit. Stays back well and anticipates the cut back. Is smart, but tenacious. Will get after the ball, but in control.

Run Defending:
Is smart enough to plant and wait for the cutback. Gets free from blockers easily with this strength and quickness. Has gotten better at stopping the run now that he is healthy.

Tackling: A hard hitter, especially when moving to the ball. Uses his long arms to wrap up from behind.

Technique / Leverage: Might get his belly over his feet too much. Plays flat footed at times. Can line up inside or outside the tackle. Likes to use a four-point stance. Dips his shoulder well and gets outside the tackle. Has a very good rip move.

Photo Credit: College Press Box, University of Texas Athletics