With the rumored news from the Washington Post that the Redskins aren’t internally sure if they want Orakpo back or not, it became time to start to wonder just who could fit in at the 3-4 OLB position. Unlike other 3-4 schemes, Orakpo at times was led to be not only just a rusher, but also someone who had coverage responsibilities. While losing Orakpo would be hard, it doesn’t mean the Redskins can’t find a replacement that can provide sparks and be a successful player. Below I’ll discuss a few of the favorites I think could be just that for the Redskins
A former QB, Smith has been a dynamite player and someone who teams had to always account for every snap. A dynamic pass rusher, Smith has proven his ability to get after the quarterback with using various ways. Smith has a very good spin move, but uses other moves to get after the QB. Smith has incorporated his big time spin move, rip move, bull rushes, and speed rush ability. Smith would be an excellent fit in the 3-4 scheme the Redskins run as he’s shown ability to play in coverage, but also be a moveable chess piece. Under new OLB coach Brian Baker, Smith would be similar to what he was dealing with this year in Keke Mingo. Look for Smith to get strong consideration if Orakpo walks in FA.
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Coming from DC and heading to Georgia Tech, Attaochu has been highly regarded as one of the best defensive players in the ACC for the past few years. Attaochu makes his name on his disruptive nature, and shows ability to be natural bender and someone who can get after the QB regardless of the level. Attaochu isn’t a high-end coverage guy, and truly doesn’t spend a lot of time in coverage, but his ability to bend and covert his speed to power is very good and will translate well to the NFL. Attaochu would fit well in the Redskins scheme with how Jim Haslett wants to “turn the OLB’s loose” and Attaochu would provide that ability to get after the QB and be successful.
This one is more of a stretch compared to the other players, but Dee Ford would be the premier pick if he was still available at 34. Ford is a high end pass rusher, who can get after the QB with anyone in the SEC. Ford was more of an unknown heading into this year, but after a strong senior year that showed him to be one of the premier pass rushers in the SEC, he’s now vaulted his stock up into that late 1st round range. Ford would fit perfectly in the Redskins scheme as he’s shown natural ability to be a strong pass rusher, but there are concerns if he can improve his coverage ability and his run defense. Ford needs to get a little stronger at the point of attack.
The main theme from all of this is that the Redskins will have options that can take over the position that Orakpo will leave. IF Orakpo were leave in FA, I do expect the Redskins to try to sign someone in FA who can split time with an incoming rookie and help be a position holder while the rookie learns some of the nuances. Of the 3 mentioned, Ford would be able to provide the most in terms of pass rushing, but in terms of a complete package, I’d take Marcus Smith to be the best overall fit for this defense. Losing Orakpo would be tough, but smart front office organizations can compensate for losses. The Redskins FO is an unknown in many respects, but at the same time there is some positive momentum heading out of the park that has me optimistic for the future.