Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Tennessee Titans [Print without images]

Monday, March 3, 2014
Potential Titans target: Brian Orakpo

By Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The start of free agency on March 11 is almost upon us.

Earlier Monday we began a look at 10 free agents who I think should get a look from the Titans.

We started with Pittsburgh outside linebacker Jason Worilds.

Our next candidate is Brian Orakpo.

The trouble here is, by day's end Orakpo is reportedly going to be slapped with the franchise tag, and the Titans can't and shouldn't pay two first-round picks (presuming the Redskins use the non-exclusive tag) to sign him away.

Orakpo
Brian Orakpo, OLB, Washington

Age: 27

Drafted: First-round pick by Washington out of Texas in 2009.

Career: Played in 64 games with 64 starts in five seasons with Washington and went to three Pro Bowls. Has 39.5 sacks, an interception, a touchdown, 16 passes defensed, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

2013: Started 15 games, recording 10.5 sacks with four passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.

From ESPN.com Redskins reporter John Keim: “I lean toward him staying. They really want him back; at least the coaches do. I know there’s some in the business side who don’t want to pay him $10 mil per. That said, I’ll put his return in perhaps the 60 percent range.

“He is very strong; loves bull rush or trying to win with his speed to the outside. Very good balance and can get low on the edge. Not explosive like Robert Mathis, but quick. Big knock is that he doesn’t have a lot of moves; he goes more by feel and it depends on who you ask whether or not that matters. Will occasionally show a spin move, but mostly in training camp workouts.

“Very strong and does well against the run. He has worked hard in that area and improved. Not great in coverage. Not his strength. In Washington’s D he drops into coverage 25 percent of the time, probably more than most pass-rushers.

“Good locker room guy. Passionate on the field and I think they missed that when he was hurt in 2012. I wouldn’t say he’s a great leader, but also wouldn’t say he’s afraid to speak up, etc. I’ve always gotten along with him and like him a lot.”

From ESPN.com resident scout Matt Williamson: "Orakpo is going to be very expensive, but he is a premier 3-4 outside linebacker that is a great pass-rusher. He is a proven commodity in the prime of his career."

PFF says: No. 3 edge defender.

My rationale: Probably my favorite guy coming available for what the Titans need. An effective, passionate pass-rusher rooted in a 3-4 scheme who can help transform the defensive front into what defensive coordinator Ray Horton surely wants in the long run. He'd be a piece of the foundation worth a significant investment.