2015 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Nate Orchard

  • Dangerous pass-rusher
  • Speed to turn the corner
  • Strong for his size
  • Can bull rush offensive tackles
  • Repertoire of moves
  • Quick first-step
  • Instincts
  • Can get off blocks
  • Consistently makes splash plays
  • Can to sink his hips/shoulder
  • Good motor
  • Closing speed
  • Pursuit skills
  • Quality run-defender
  • Intelligent
  • Hard worker
  • Good character
  • Intangibles
  • Scheme flexibility
  • Experienced and successful against quality college programs

  • Weaknesses:
  • Could use more weight to be a 4-3 base end
  • Lacks height
  • Lacks elite speed, explosion off the edge
  • Not overly strong
  • Needs to continue to improve hand usage
  • Should work on using hands and feet at the same time
  • Will need to improve coverage skills if he’s a 3-4 outside linebacker

  • Summary: After a modest junior season with 50 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks, Orchard broke out in 2014. His massive jump in production wasn’t expected. 2014 saw Orchard finish second in the nation in sacks behind Washington’s Hau’Oli Kikaha with 17.5. Orchard also had 84 tackles, 21 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and two passes batted.

    There is no doubt that Orchard is a good edge defender. He displays natural pass-rush ability and is fast enough to burn tackles with speed rushes yet has the functional strength to bull rush his way into the pocket. Orchard also has a good spin move along with the agility to work his way around blockers. With his pass-rushing potential, Orchard has the skill set to become a double-digit sack producer in the NFL.

    Orchard is a scrapper in the ground game as well. He fights at the point of attack and even though he is a little undersized as a defensive end, he generally did a respectable job of holding his ground. Orchard can get off blocks and make tackles in pursuit. For the next level, it would help him to gain some more weight and strength if he remains a 4-3 defensive end. Orchard could use 10-15 pounds if he remains in a 4-3 defense.

    Orchard could fit in a 4-3 defense as an end or a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker. His preference is to play 4-3 end, but is more than willing to make the move to outside linebacker. At the beginning of his NFL career, Orchard could be best utilized as part of a rotation in either scheme. That would help him as he either gains some weight for a 4-3, or develops his pass-coverage skills for a 3-4.

    Orchard has good character off the field and is a serious, driven young man. He could get late first-round consideration in the 2015 NFL Draft, but he’s probably more likely to be a second-round pick.

    Player Comparison: Connor Barwin. Barwin and Orchard are similar style players. Barwin (6-4, 260) is similar in size to Orchard. Both have edge-rush ability but don’t have special speed or explosion off the snap. Barwin was a second-round pick of the Texans in the 2009 NFL Draft. He had 11.5 sacks in 2011 for Houston and 14.5 sacks for Philadelphia in 2014. Barwin has had some production in other seasons as well. With Orchard’s natural pass-rushing skills and driven demeanor, he could end up being a player comparable to Barwin.

    NFL Matches: Arizona, Dallas, Indianapolis, Tennessee, Oakland, Jacksonville, Chicago, New York Giants, Atlanta, New Orleans, Cleveland, San Francisco, San Diego, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh

    Orchard could go late in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft and has a few possible landing spots. The Cardinals could use a young edge rusher to replace John Abraham, plus Orchard is a type of player who fits with some recent draft picks of the Cardinals.

    Dallas needs to give Rod Marinelli more to work with, and Orchard’s pass rush will appeal to Marinelli. He also doesn’t mind defensive linemen who are shorter. The Colts could consider Orchard with their first-round pick. They need to improve their pass rush, and Orchard could contribute quickly for Indianapolis.

    At pick No. 33 to lead off Friday night, it wouldn’t be surprising if Orchard lands with the Titans. They coached him at the Senior Bowl, where he bonded with the staff. Tennessee also needs more edge rushers for its defense, so this could be a perfect fit.

    Also early on Friday night, Orchard could land with the Raiders or Jaguars. Both teams need young edge rushers, and he could fit well with either team. Chicago also could consider edge rushers early in the 2015 NFL Draft, and Orchard could be a good fit for John Fox.

    The Giants may need an end if Jason Pierre-Paul doesn’t return to New York. Atlanta must improve its pass rush off the edge, so Orchard could fit the Falcons depending on how they use their first-round pick and free agency dollars.

    The Saints could use an edge rusher to go opposite Junior Galette, while the Browns need one on the other side from Paul Kruger. Also in the AFC North, the Steelers need a 3-4 rush linebacker, but also want to mix in more 4-3. Orchard could be a great fit for that dual role. Cincinnati missed Michael Johnson last season and could use an edge rusher to pair with Carlos Dunlap.

    In California, Orchard could land with the 49ers or Chargers as both teams failed to produce defenders with significant sack totals.


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