NASHVILLE – When Brian Orakpo retired at the end of the 2018 season, the Titans said goodbye to a veteran leader who showed the team’s younger players the way.
Enter former Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake, who should serve as a pretty good leader himself -- while also terrorizing quarterbacks.
“Cameron, he hasn’t slowed down, not from what I have seen on film,” Orakpo said. “If you play to his strengths, he is unstoppable. He is a guy who can come off the edge and create havoc. Play to his strengths and he is a guy who will get back to double-digit sacks like he has throughout his career.”
The Titans signed Wake on Friday.
The 37-year-old Wake has 98 career sacks, and he’s posted double-digit sack totals in five of his 10 NFL seasons. Wake is a five-time Pro Bowl selection (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016) and a four-time Associated Press All-Pro (first team 2010 and 2012; second team 2014 and 2016).
Orakpo, a four-time Pro Bowler himself, has gotten to know Wake over the years. He thinks he’ll be a good fit in Tennessee.
“I am extremely excited about what he is going to bring to the table with the Titans,” Orakpo said of Wake. “I love Cam. He is one hell of a player. We played Miami pretty much every year, so I know what he is all about. The guy is extremely talented coming off the edge at an extremely high rate. And I love the way they used him in Miami. If you get this guy in his stance and he is able to get off the rock and roll, he is a hard block. He has been having a lot of success, and continued success, over the years in the league. The guy is up there in age, but he doesn’t play like it.”
Orakpo, who played from 2015-18 with the Titans to wrap up his 10-year NFL career, said Wake’s presence should help the team’s younger pass rushers as well.
In addition to edge rusher Harold Landry, a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, outside linebackers Sharif Finch and Kamalei Correa will also return for the Titans this fall. The team also has two other young linebackers -- Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown – who can learn from Wake, Titans General Manager Jon Robinson said.
Wake recorded six sacks in 2018 while playing limited snaps. He had 10.5 sacks in 2017.
“I think Cam is going to be a huge asset, especially with myself not being there any more to help mold Landry and the rest of those guys, and Finch and KC. I think Cameron Wake is the perfect guy to fill in that void with all the credentials and what he has done in this league.” Orakpo said.
“My advice to those guys is, 'Play your game, but learn what you can from a guy who has a knack for getting after the quarterback throughout his career.' The guy has been one of the most consistent guys in the league, on the verge of being a 100-sack guy. Coach (Terrell) Williams coached him in Miami and knows him well. Cameron’s pedigree and resume speaks for itself. So take what he says to heart and play your game. If you are a speed guy, be a speed guy, but also learn a few things that Cam is able to teach you to take your game to the next level. That’s my piece of advice.”
TitansOnline.com looks back at the NFL career of former Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake, who signed with the Titans as an unrestricted free agent. (AP Photos)