“Orakpophobia” Meaning: Quarterbacks fearing or loathing a menacing pass rusher.
Since he stepped on the practice field on the second day of training camp, Redskins rookie LB/DE Brian Orakpo has done nothing but amaze all who follow the team on daily basis.
With the manner and maturity of a seasoned veteran and a voice so deep it rivals that of actor of Michael Clarke Duncan, Orakpo has earned the respect of coaches and teammates alike.
The respect doesn’t come as a result of his 260-pound chiseled frame or the way he handles himself in nearly every aspect of being a professional.
It comes from his tireless work ethic and displaying a willingness to improve under the tutelage of Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Blache, coaches John Palermo and Kirk Olivadotti, and veteran players Andre Carter and London Fletcher.
Orakpo is no rookie in body, mind or ability. He blends with the veterans as if he shares the same battle scars, jostles with fellow rookies and impresses the media all the same.
This is no ordinary rookie. There are no indications of tired legs, that deer-in-headlights look when the offense completely shifts formations or hesitation whenever he attacks.
The 13th pick in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft has come in to the league as if he were on a mission.
A mission to improve a defense that recorded a mere 22 sacks in 2008.
A mission to lead an organization back to an elite NFL status after years of medium results.
A mission to prove that a rookie can lead by example.
A mission to be the best player he can be right from the start.
I have studied his mannerisms in every practice he has had in his brief NFL career and watched how he handles himself when receiving directions from coaches.
He is a superstar in the making, yet he maintains the focus of an undrafted free-agent who willingly absorbs any and all information that could possibly give him an edge.
In the initial stages of training camp he provided onlookers with a glimpse of his superb quickness and speed as he eluded left tackle after left tackle during team scrimmages.
There was a hint of the late Kansas City Chiefs LB and Hall-of-Famer Derrick Thomas in the way he attacked quarterbacks.
Thomas, who was as quick as a receiver off the ball and used his unique speed to set a NFL record seven sacks in one game, is a mighty large comparison at this point in Orakpo’s career.
But a week later, during the Redskins team scrimmage on Fan Appreciation Day, he showed a new weapon in his arsenal to reach quarterbacks. He bull-rushed his way to several QB hurries.
Then, against the Baltimore Ravens in his first preseason game he displayed the total package. Utilizing a fine mix of speed and strength, Orakpo had Ravens QB’s Joe Flacco and former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, running for their life.
Although his time on the field was brief, he made his presence felt.
Don’t believe all the hype you read and hear about this special Redskins rookie, he is better than currently advertised.
If he remains healthy the sky is the limit for this unique "hybrid" defender.