Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Leon Orr is ready to make the jump after a successful offseason training program.
Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Leon Orr made the most of his opportunity with the Silver and Black as an undrafted free agent in his rookie season last year. Going from the practice squad to getting into the final three games of the 2015 schedule, getting involved in the Raiders Christmas Eve win over the San Diego Chargers as a career highlight thus far for the former Florida Gators defensive tackle.
Now with a year of experience under his belt, Orr is hoping that the work he put in last season along with further work spent in the gym this offseason will springboard him into a permanent place in the NFL with the Raiders.
Discussing his offseason in a recent interview, Orr told Just Blog Baby that he is in the best shape of his life after spending his time since the end of his rookie season focusing on getting his body right to make an even bigger impact this upcoming season.
“Getting my feet wet was a good way to put the first stage of my NFL career,” Orr said when asked about his first season. “Working my way from the practice squad to the active roster, but now that I have a year under my belt I am getting comfortable with the speed of the game and I am learning the terminology of the coaches so things are getting a lot easier for me as my career progresses.”
Part of Orr’s progression has been getting into the gym and making the shift from a collegiate training program to the NFL schedule of being a football player 24/7/365. Orr dropping from the 340-pound range during his rookie season to closer to 300 pounds in an attempt to become more explosive and versatile as a pass rushing threat as well as a run stuffer in the middle of the trenches.
“I was 340 pounds last season so I worked my body real hard to lose around 30 pounds to become more explosive,” explained Orr on his offseason effort to become a better player. “I felt my mobility could be better if I lost weight so I can be able to become a pass rushing threat so I took the offseason time to work on my technique and my body real hard at the Performance Compound down in Florida.”
Orr also touched on the difference from being a student-athlete and how being a professional is allowing him to get physical results that were more difficult to achieve while balancing an academic workload when he was a member of the Gators program.
“When you are in college it is a lot more time consuming and just being able to have those extra two or three hours to be able to focus on your game or to focus on a certain area of your body to get better is huge,” explained Orr. “I felt that going to a big time college at the University of Florida where academics are taken seriously sometimes it was hard to focus on so many things at once so it is a lot of weight off your back when you can come into a situation where you can focus on one aspect of your life, focus on your tools and put all of your energy into it once you are in the NFL.”
Finishing up OTA’s this week, Orr has set his personal goals on moving up the depth chart while also stressing that his ultimate goal is being a part of the Raiders return to prominence after a 7-9 season. Orr’s hard work in the offseason being put in to ensure that he will be able to have a role in what could be the best Raiders season in the last 15 years.
“On a personal level the goal for me is to get out and play a lot more,” said Orr. “I was active four weeks and was able to contribute my part in three games when it comes to winning so I want to do a lot more when it comes to contributing my part to our team achieving our goals. Getting in the game a lot earlier, getting involved in making big plays for our defense, getting into the rotation and hopefully really making a name for myself after putting in a lot of work this offseason.”
“At the same time it is all about that return to greatness,” closed Orr. “Winning a lot more games as a team and achieving the goals that we have set for ourselves after building the foundation to make that next step with two great coaches in Jack Del Rio and Ken Norton Jr. who have put us in a great position to go out and win this season.”