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Brian Orakpo Could Be a Falcons Free Agency Target

The Falcons should be looking towards both the draft and free agency to help improve their non-existent pass rush. With Greg Hardy franchised by the Carolina Panthers, Brian Orakpo could be in the mix to become an Atlanta Falcon.

Brian Orakpo is slightly athletic.
Brian Orakpo is slightly athletic.
Scott Cunningham

It is no secret that Atlanta's pass rush, outside of John Abraham, has been pretty atrocious. Turns out removing Abraham didn't help the problem. Another year passed and no one stepped up, and Osi Umenyiora looks to only be a complement to an elite pass rusher.

If Umenyiora is your top guy, your defense just isn't very good.

Reports surfaced this weekend that predict the Washington Redskins are going to let outside linebacker Brian Orakpo walk in free agency. This guy hates quarterbacks almost as much as he hates cavemen. And he haaaaaaates cavemen. I find his hatred of cavemen pretty weird... it isn't like cavemen are astronauts.

If Michael Bennett is the top pass rusher on the market, Orakpo should be second. He has graded out very well according to Pro Football Focus, who marked Orakpo with 11 sacks, 11 hurries and 29 hurries last season.

Orakpo has nice size for an explosive right defensive end at 6'4", 257 pounds but has more left in the tank than Umenyiora, as Orakpo is going into his age-28 season.

Simply put, the Falcons need someone who can make an impact in 2014 and help mentor the pass rusher Atlanta will likely select in the first round of the draft.

Orakpo, Umenyiora, Kroy Biermann and a draft pick would help give Mike Nolan the sort of defense he wants: multiple guys that can get to the quarterback and can be bumped around to different positions. Nolan has said before he didn't need the one elite guy to get all of those sacks. Well, we lost the elite guy last year and it didn't work out but the combination mentioned would be one of the better and deeper rotations in the league.

Orakpo has spent most of his career in a 34 defense and can easily be moved around, dropped into coverage or sent directly after Drew Brees, giving Nolan some flexibility in his formations. Maybe I've just been a big fan of Orakpo since he played at Texas but I think he could be a very good player for Atlanta for the next five years while some young players hopefully develop into starters.