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Free Agent Spotlight: Bengals Should Look At Brian Orakpo

matthewwillson
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Oct 12, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo (98) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Redskins 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals need an effective pass rusher, which was proven against the Indianapolis Colts, twice. Vontaze Burfict is due back after an injury riddled 2014, which included several concussions and microfracture surgery, but is his return enough?

Current Washington Redskins outside linebacker, Brian Orakpo, is expected to go elsewhere, if you believe ESPN Redskins reporter John Kiem. Although Jay Gruden didn’t get much production from Orakpo prior to his season-ending pectoral muscle tear, his production in 2013 speaks volumes about what he is capable of.

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In 2013, Orakpo had 10 sacks, an interception, which he returned for a touchdown, two fumble recoveries, and 60 combined tackles. When compared to Vincent Rey, in 2013, who had 57 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions, with one for a touchdown, Orakpo compares favorably when pressuring the quarterback.  Rey provided even less in 2014 when trying to put opposing quarterbacks under duress; he produced 121 tackles, but had no sacks and no interceptions. Orakpo’s presence would be a big help for the Bengals.

Brian Orakpo is not the sure thing that Washington thought he would be coming out of college.  But Orakpo’s injury-plagued 2014 provides the Bengals with an opportunity to get a steal. Jay Gruden may not be high on him, but if Paul Guenther is truly a “linebacker whisperer,” Orakpo could stand a chance to grow in Cincinnati. He might just look good enough to be in stripes.

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