2015 NFL Draft Profile: DE Nate Orchard


Jan 24, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; South squad running back

Cameron Artis-Payne

of Auburn (44) carries the ball against North squad defensive end

Nate Orchard

of Utah (99) during the first quarter of the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

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There is no doubt that the Jets are in need of a pass rusher in the upcoming draft. This is not in dispute, and the Jets are using several of their visits to look at pass rushers. Gregory, Vic Beasley, Dante Fowler Jr., and others are either set to work out with the Jets, or have already done so. The Jets are doing their due diligence at the position, that’s for sure.

But what happens if the top guys are already chosen? There are scenarios where Vic Beasley and Dante Fowler are gone by the time the Jets go on the clock at number six. I don’t see the Jets getting to that point with Randy Gregory, to take him at number six. In that scenario, the Jets will likely look to round two to address the pass rusher needs.

We have already taken a look at Eli Harold, a guy that the Jets have made contact with. Here is another guy graded in the second round, and could certainly fit the bill.

Today’s spotlight is on DE Nate Orchard.

Next: College Career

Nov 22, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes defensive end Nate Orchard (8) sacks Arizona Wildcats quarterback Jesse Scroggins (15) during the second half at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Arizona won 42-10. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

As always, we start with the stats. Here is how Orchard performed while at Utah:

Defense & Fumbles

Data Coverage (*=bowl stats included)  · Glossary  · SHARE  · Embed  · CSV  · Export  · PRE  · LINK  · ?

I talk a lot, when we look at the stats, about the percentage of tackles made for loss.  Well, when you look at last year, you see that Orchard posted 84 total tackles, 21 for loss to go along with 18.5 sacks.  That means that nearly HALF of the plays Orchard made were in the backfield.  For his career his number approached 50% as well.  Nate Orchard can find the football, and find it in the backfield.

Next: NFL Combine

Nov 22, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes defensive end Nate Orchard (8) sacks Arizona Wildcats quarterback Jesse Scroggins (15) during the second half at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Arizona won 42-10. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s take a look at how Nate Orchard performed at the NFL Combine.

Admittedly, Orchard was a bit underwhelming, running the 40 yard dash in 4.8 seconds. He ran the Three Cone Drill in 7.28 seconds. He posted a vertical jump of 31.5 inches, and a broad jump of 9’7″.

Nate Orchard stands at 6’3″, and weighs 250 pounds. Here are his strengths and weaknesses from Dane Brugler’s draft guide:

STRENGTHS: Quick first step with long strides to accelerate well, routinely the first Utah lineman off the ball…natural bend around the edge with closing burst to finish with purpose…high effort player and doesn’t give up on plays – excellent pursuit from snap-to-snap…subtle rush movements to set up moves, finding ways to get to the quarterback…active and rangy for the position…always alert with proper diagnose skills to read and react with timing and trust in what he sees…good awareness vs. the run and tougher than he looks – does his best to play the power brand of football needed to stop the run…improved hand use as a senior to work off blocks, keeping himself clean with good arm length for the position…works his tail off and highly competitive, giving consistent effort each snap and through the whistle – wants to be the best and expects a lot out of himself…defensive leader with excellent physical and mental toughness – wears the “C” proudly on his jersey…experienced at left and right defensive end and as the “STUD” linebacker, lining up in both two and three point stances…mature lifestyle with a wife (Maegan) and infant daughter (Katherine Mae)…highly productive senior season, setting a school record with 18.5 sacks…leaves Utah tied for third in school history in career sacks (25.0), second in career tackles for loss (38.5) and tied for second in career forced fumbles (8).

WEAKNESSES: Leaner-than-ideal frame and lacks muscle definition wanted at the position…upper and lower body strength need developed to better hold his ground, often losing balance once blockers initiate contact…struggles to generate power at the point of attack and needs to better convert his speed into strength – lacks the natural momentum to bull rush or get blockers going in reverse…needs to load more ammo into his hands to better punch at the contact point – reads the run well, but lacks the consistent power to make stops…average athletically with ordinary redirection skills and functional burst…will struggle to collect himself and break down in space at times, even with a clear path to the quarterback…has some experience dropping into coverage, but doesn’t look comfortable – wild footwork and his spatial awareness needs refined the farther he gets from the ball…past left shoulder issues, minor durability concerns.

Let’s go to the video tape!

Next: Film and Final Thoughts

In this game, a lot of quick pass plays were run, and a lot were away from Nate Orchard’s side of the field, so we can’t hold that against him, but here is what I thought of the film.

The first thing that jumps out is Nate Orchard’s motor. He doesn’t give up on a play, no matter how many guys are blocking him. He also gets off the ball well. You don’t have to have great straight line speed, and Orchard does not, if you have good instincts. Nate Orchard has good instincts. He also has good awareness. He follows the ball well, and is very good at diagnosing the play in front of him. These are all skills that will serve Nate Orchard well in the pros.

However, Orchard needs to improve in some key areas. First of all, he needs to learn to disengage from his blocker when defending against the run quicker. At times, he gets engulfed by the opponent in front of him, unable to free himself to make the play. Orchard’s technique with his hands is improving. You can see that he starts to use them to get an advantage, but that will have to get better. Rudimentary technique with his hands will be nullified by all linemen in the pros.

But, Nate Orchard has a lot of sheer talent here. If other options aren’t there, I would take a shot on him if I were the New York Jets.

Next: Draft Profile: Eli Harold

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