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News » TIME TO GET DOWN TO BUSINESS


TIME TO GET DOWN TO BUSINESS


TIME TO GET DOWN TO BUSINESS
Brian Orakpo has a reasonable shot today of becoming the eighth Texas player in the Mack Brown era to be a top-10 selection in the NFL draft.


But Orakpo, Texas' All-American defensive end, has the chance to earn an even more unusual place in Longhorns history as the draft unfolds.

Only a handful of Longhorns defensive linemen have been picked in the top 10, the last one 27 years ago.

quot; I guess I'm hoping to break the drought ,quot; Orakpo said.

On average, an NFL team has selected a Texas defensive lineman in the top 10 about every two decades. The last Longhorn to achieve top 10 status was Kenneth Sims, the defensive tackle-turned-end who was the No. 1 overall pick in 1982.

Then there was Scott Appleton, the fourth pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 1964. The other member of Texas' top-10 linemen group was Max Bumgarder, whom the Chicago Bears selected as a defensive end in the 1948 draft.

There is no doubt that Orakpo will be the sixth defensive linemen, and 41st Longhorn overall, to be chosen in the first round. Texas defensive backs lead the way with 11 former first-rounders.

Where Orakpo will go is difficult to project. Anonymous scouts deliberately cloud the airwaves and cyberspace with misinformation on any top choice, so as not to show a team's hand.

Louisiana State's Tyson Jackson seems to be emerging as the top defensive end prospect, taking the slot Orakpo held in previous mock drafts.

The money drops significantly from the fifth to the 10th pick. Last year, LSU's Glenn Dorsey received a $22 million guaranteed bonus as the fifth pick, while Jerod Mayo got a $13.8 million bonus as the 10th selection.

Gil Brandt, the lead draft analyst for NFL.com, believes there are nearly two dozen players carrying a r?sum? that could get them into the top 10.

quot;I've never seen a year like it. Guy No. 22 looks exactly like guy No. 6,quot; said Brandt, who was the longtime player personnel director for the Dallas Cowboys . quot;I like Orakpo a lot. Other people think he's 15-16.quot;

Orakpo's status in the latest mock drafts has varied from the Cleveland Browns at No. 6 to the Denver Broncos at No. 12.

The main mock draft for Sports Illustrated stated Orakpo quot;must play with more intensity in every snap.quot;

Those kinds of assessments burn Orakpo when he hears them, although he said scouts didn't bring up a lack of intensity when he made the rounds of personal interviews.

quot;Oh my goodness, that doesn't reflect what scouts are telling me,quot; he said. quot;Film doesn't lie.quot;

Former Longhorns linebacker Rashad Bobino, who roomed with Orakpo at Texas, said he's taking talk about his good friend's intensity as an insult. quot;There is nothing soft about him,quot; Bobino said . quot;That offends me.quot;

Orakpo said coaches have been speaking to him about playing as a traditional defensive end in a 4-3, or as an outside rush linebacker in the 3-4. He got a taste of a 3-4 lineup during his senior season in coordinator Will Muschamp's ever-changing defense.

Cleveland gave him a 30-minute crash course on the Browns' defense, then quizzed him on it. He also made visits to the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Washington Redskins and Denver. All six of those teams have picks in the top 15.

The NFL has picked up the tab for Orakpo's friends and family to make the trip to New York City for the festivities at Radio City Music Hall. Orakpo could wait an hour to hear his name called. Or it might take longer.

quot;That's the thing - you just don't know,quot; Orakpo said. quot;The draft is so crazy.quot;

shalliburton@statesman.com; 445-3954


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 25, 2009

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