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- Position: Edge Rusher (ER)
- Class: Senior
- College: Utah
- Ht/Wt: 6'3", 250 pounds
Nate Orchard has been connected with the Buffalo Bills since he was reportedly brought in for a private visit to One Bills Drive earlier this offseason. The edge rusher was one of the most productive defenders in the nation in 2014, putting together 18.5 sacks as a senior, although many of those were of the "effort" variety.
Orchard plays with good hand technique, and keeps his opponents guessing. He will attack inside and out, using arm-overs and rips, and if he's stymied on the first attempt, he will try a spin move or just disengage and try to swat at passes. He can use a bull rush, but he doesn't have great core power, so it only works against weaker linemen. His best attribute is his control of his long arms, which let him stack and shed without getting caught in an opponent's chest. Orchard plays to the whistle and has good vision, allowing him to make tackles and sacks that he shouldn't have otherwise been able to manage.
Orchard's not going to physically dominate most NFL linemen. He's on the small side, and had below-average measurements in almost every agility drill at the Combine. His short-area quickness isn't great, and stretch plays and passes to the flats are simply out of his range. Orchard played almost exclusively as a defensive end at Utah, and I don't think he has the agility to be a stand-up outside linebacker in the NFL. When he approaches tackles, he tries to incorporate a variety of quick fakes into his movements, but it rarely accomplishes anything except slowing him down with extra steps.
Orchard does a good job playing within his limits, using technique to shed blocks effectively, and find his way to the backfield. I'm not convinced that he has the upside of a strong starting edge rusher, based on his tape and his Combine numbers, which suggest that he's not athletic enough to be a major threat off the edge. He could thrive, however, as an interim starter or a third-best pass rusher on the team. I have him graded as a third-round pick. I'm not as big a fan of him as I am of Trey Flowers (who I believe has more upside), but I don't see a bust when I watch him.