You have to respect the job they do at Pro Football Focus. You may not always agree with the sites conclusions, but the people writing there try to turn statistics and game accounts into intelligent analysis.
One of the things PFF has been doing is coming up with prototypical players for each position on the field. Some of the conclusions may be obvious hey, even I could have figured out that Ray Lewis is the prototype for a middle linbebacker but some names may surprise you, and PFF offers succinct explanations of the responsibilities of the position.
In picking its prototype for a 3-4 outside linebacker, PFF might not have pleased Redskins fans by selecting the Cowboys DeMarcus Ware, but Washingtons Brian Orakpo was listed among the three alternative prototypes.
What is the job of an outside linebacker in the 3-4? They are the primary pass rushers. They are essentially stand-up defensive ends, and so they also need to be able to read the play and defend the run by setting the edge, rather than just affect the play by charging up field.
Orakpo came in for more praise from PFF, however, when it rated the best performances of 2011 by position. His Week 4 effort against the Rams was judged No. 1. The grades took pass-rush pressure into account, but that wasnt the only factor pass coverage and run defense counted, too.
Three sacks (including a forced fumble) and seven more hurries are always going to earn you some praise. It was thus proven as it pushed Orakpo to this No. 1 spot in our Top 10 individual 3-4 OLB performances of 2011. Rodger Saffold was the primary victim as Orakpo was near unstoppable rushing the passer. He also added some good work in the run game to beat out the competition and top this list.