Brian Orakpo, former defensive end for the Texas Longhorns, was picked by the Washington Redskins as the 13th pick in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft. By dropping to the Redskins, he is guaranteed to visit the state of Texas at least once every year, as he tees up Tony Romo in one of their two games every season.
Said Orakpo shortly after the pick was announced:
I can’t put it into words how I feel right now. Being a first-round draft pick is a dream come true. It really shows how hard work pays off and is a tribute to my family, coaches, teammates – everyone that helped me get here. It was tough to wait a little longer than I expected, but when it came down to the Washington Redskins, I was really excited. I had a great visit their with Mr. Snyder, Vinny Cerrato and Coach Zorn. It just felt like the perfect fit. It’s a lot like Texas, a great organization with a proud history, a winning tradition, great fans. I can’t wait to get to work and do my best to help the Redskins. I told them when we had dinner on my visit there that I guaranteed them I would work as hard as anybody, and now I’m ready to show them.
Washington general manager Vinny Cerrato played for Longhorn head coach Mack Brown at Iowa State, and clearly felt pretty strongly about this pick. It took approximately 13.7 seconds to come in, and Cerrato had a personalized jersey ready for Orakpo.
Said Coach Brown:
We think Brian Orakpo is as good a pass rusher as we’ve had since we’ve been at Texas, and really at North Carolina, because we had some great pass rushers there, as well. His strength speaks for itself, he can definitely stop the run, but his first step, his quickness, his agility to make the big offensive tackle shuffle his feet and lose a half second to get to the quarterback, is something you just can’t find anymore. Pass rushers in the college game right now are so valuable and so hard to get, same thing in the pros. It’s something everyone’s looking for, and he just fits that bill.
Orakpo will likely be a problem for my beloved Dallas Cowboys for many years. They play twice a season, and I just don’t see anyone on the Cowboys offensive line with the speed or skill to consistently slow Orakpo down, much less stop him.
Congrats, Brian. Even though you were picked by the bad guys, you’ll still be one of my favorite Longhorns.