I want to take you back to the 2009 NFL Draft. Your Houston Texans, fresh off another 8-8 campaign, had the fifteenth pick in the first round. Much of the pre-draft chatter had them linked to one of the three USC linebackers thought to be worth a first round pick--Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, or Rey Maualuga. As expected around draft times, various camps championing certain players popped up. Some were wild about Matthews. Some fans held out hope for Malcolm Jenkins. Some dug Sean Smith. Some loved the idea of Brian Cushing, while others most definitely did not. Others predicted a trade back in the first round for the second year in a row.
Despite all that, I dreamt of Brian Orakpo. I watched him at Texas and was convinced he'd be a difference-maker off the edge in the NFL. I loved the idea of him coming to Houston, even if the Texans didn't run a 3-4 at the time; I thought he was good enough that they'd figure out a way to use him. I didn't think there was any way Orakpo would be there when the Texans went on the clock. If memory serves, virtually every mock draft had him going in the top ten, if not higher.
Then the draft started, and teams kept passing on Orakpo. I tried to temper my excitement. But when the Bills passed on SACKPO at No. 11, I started losing it. There was a chance! There was a chance Brian Orakpo would be there at No. 15! I remember thinking there was no way the Saints would draft him; the only possible thing between Orakpo and Houston was Washington. They had other needs! They could pass on him! He could come home to Houston!
Of course, that didn't happen. Washington drafted him at No. 13, I threw something, and the Texans eventually took Brian Cushing at No. 15, which led to me penning a rather infamous and completely even-handed reaction post that I link to whenever I have the chance.
Brian Orakpo did not become a Texan that day. Now, six years later, Brian Orakpo says if he can't agree to terms to stay in Washington, he'd like to come back to the Lone Star State. Here's an excerpt from the NFL.com article discussing Orakpo's interview on "NFL AM" this morning:
And if money weren't part of the equation, where would he want to play?
"Man, that's a good question. I've never answered a question like that," he said hesitating. "I mean, I don't know. It would either have to be one of the Texas teams, since I'm from Texas, obviously, or I love playing for the Redskins. The media over there, the fans, it's great man, it's a great thing. Even if I'm done playing with the Redskins, I hope those guys can turn it around and really win for those fans and that whole market out there, because it's great for football."
He also said he "wouldn't mind" playing on a half a dozen other teams that he was peppered with.
Before we discuss the possibility of Brian Orakpo becoming a Houston Texan, a few ground rules...
1. The question was posed to Orakpo as "...if money weren't part of the equation." Well, it is. It always is.
2. Brian Orakpo is not exactly coming off his strongest campaign. In fact, his production in 2014 before he suffered a season-ending injury (more on that in a second) was a fraction of what he's done in the past.
3. Orakpo has torn his pectoral muscle not once, not twice, but three times since he entered the league. Three season-ending injuries would be cause enough for concern. Three season-ending injuries to the same part of the body? The red flag may well block out the sun.
With that understanding, what are your thoughts on whether the Texans should pursue Brian Orakpo? Would he be an upgrade over Brooks Reed? If so, what sort of contract would you want to see the Texans offer?