Backing up two NFL draft picks at defensive end limits your playing time, but Orakpo still managed to be a factor as a freshman for the Longhorns in 2005. He earned Freshman All America honors after finishing the season with 27 tackles, four for loss, and half a sack. He was again a reserve as a sophomore, but he still made his share of plays, tallying 26 tackles, six for loss, and 4.5 sacks in 2006. Orakpo finally got his chance to be a full time starter and he had a solid season. He missed four games with a knee injury, but had 37 tackles, nine for loss, and 5.5 sacks in eight starts. Orakpo had a tremendous senior season, totaling 40 tackles, 18 for loss, and 10.5 sacks despite missing a game due to a knee injury.
Orakpo has the talent to be a pass rushing force in the NFL. His natural athleticism is obvious immediately when you watch him play. He is fluid on the field, and has the quickness and speed to apply pressure consistently off the edge. Orakpo may bring the ability to provide an impact in both the 4-3 and 3-4 alignment.
Consistency has been an issue for Orakpo. He relies on his natural gifts too often to make plays, and may need time to learn how to develop his all around skills. He is a tweener, and his size may present a problem as a defensive end. He does not hold up well at the point of attack and is not much of a factor against the run. That could signal a switch to a linebacker spot in a 3-4 alignment but he still need to adjust to playing as a stand up pass rusher. He also may have some durability concerns as he has had some knee injuries that have caused him to miss time and slow him down in other games.
Orakpo had a great season and helped his stock as much as any defender in the draft. He entered the year as a possible second rounder, but his dominant season off the edge has led him to a potential Top 10 selection. He is the premier senior pass rusher in the draft and good workouts could move him way up the boards.