As we delve further into the Pittsburgh Steelers offseason, our attention has begun to shift towards the draft. Like we’ve done in the past, these reports will cover the prospects of the 2015 NFL Draft, placing an emphasis on those who could help the Steelers the most.
Today we will look at yet another outside linebacker prospect in Nate Orchard, who has a lot of Steelers fans buzzing after a strong week at the Senior Bowl.
# 8 – Nate Orchard/DE-OLB Utah – 6’3 251
– Nice size, build
– Accelerates well
– Uses hands, arms well
– Adequate strength
– Disciplined at point of attack
– Three-down player
– Played some standing up
– Impressed at Senior Bowl
– Didn’t drop a lot
– Only one year of real production
– Not overly athletic
– Doesn’t have great bend
– Inconsistent get-off
– Questionable in pursuit
– Doesn’t possess a wow-factor
– Team Captain
– Ted Hendricks Award and Morris Award winner
– 18.5 sacks and 21 TFLs in 2014
– 36 college starts
– Named to 10 All-America teams
There has been a lot more buzz about Orchard since he took part in the Senior Bowl and according to reports leading up to the game, he helped himself immensely while in Mobile, AL.
When you look at Orchard from a physical and measurement standpoint, you can see that he looks the part of a 3-4 outside linebackers due to his size and frame.
As far as Orchard’s get-off at the line of scrimmage, I found it to be inconsistent at times. I believe he’s at his best from a down position even though he will tend to come off too high at times. If drafted by the Steelers or any other team that runs a 3-4 defense, I think he will need to work on playing his game while standing up.
While he doesn’t possess a fantastic first-step, he does accelerate well. Here you can see him easily beat the left tackle from a wide-nine position and he makes sure to get those arms and hands of his busy.
While not the most athletic of players, Orchard does a good job of winning to the inside when left one on one with a tackle. Again, look at how he uses his arms to ensure he gets a free run.
While he didn’t get the sack in the previous play against UCLA, he doesn’t miss here when he again beats the left tackle to the inside.
Another look at Orchard using his arms and combining it with some power. He gets to the inside and eventually forces a fumble against Oregon.
Orchard beats this tight end around the edge here for the sack. While he flattens out decent on this play, I think he could show a little bit more bend or at least a little better footwork. I can’t wait to see his times in the 40, short-shuttle and three cone drills. Maybe he’ll surprise us.
Here is another good example of Orchard converting speed to power as he has the tackle moving backwards into the pocket.
I found Orchard’s play against the run to be more than adequate and that’s due to his strength and ability to use his hands and arms well.
On this play he easily sheds the tight end to record a run stop.
Here is an example of Orchard flowing down the line to set the edge against a pulling guard. This forces the ball carrier back inside to help
Here Orchard penetrates and disengages to record the run stop.
If you watch the provided videos below and research most of the sacks that Orchard last season, I think you will come away with the feeling that he doesn’t necessarily “wow” you. He is, however, a very consistent player in all phases of his game except for his get off.
One of things that I didn’t like about Orchard was that when plays were either past him or to the opposite side of the field, his effort really tends to drop. Coaches will need to drill into him that he needs to run hard to the football until he hears the whistle at the next level.
On the plus side, I really like the way Orchard uses his hands and arms not only as a pass rusher but against the run. He will only get better in both of those areas. Could Orchard potentially become an elephant/hybrid player that even plays some inside on the line? I think so and especially if he gets a little stronger.
Due to the stats that Orchard put up last season, I really was expecting to see him really jump off of the tape, but that wasn’t the case. The production just didn’t match his play and that’s what I mean about him not “wowing” me.
Orchard wasn’t asked to drop a lot in the film that I watched and while he seemed to move well in space during the Senior Bowl game and practices, it will be interesting to see how he shows during drills at the scouting combine.
I don’t see Orchard being a first round selection. He only had one year of real production at Utah and that might work against him. I do not believe that Orchard has hit his ceiling, however, and that’s also a positive. He seems to have a good character and a strong showing at the combine might make him a second round selection. If I had to guess this far out from the draft, I would predict he gets drafted somewhere between the middle of round two and the end of round three. He should most definitely be on the Steelers draft board come late April.
Projection: Mid 2nd Round – Late 3rd Round
Games Watched: at UCLA, at Oregon State
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