2015 NFL Draft: Grading the Browns Pick of Nate Orchard


Oct 12, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) fumbles as he is hit by Utah Utes defensive end Nate Orchard (8) during the second half at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Utah defeated Stanford 27-21. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns added three more players to the roster during the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

With their first selection of the evening, general manager Ray Farmer selected Utah defensive end Nate Orchard.

The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Orchard set a school record in 2014 with 18.5 sacks, while also leading the nation in quarterback knockdowns with 28. Orchard was second-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12 in 2014, and won the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation’s top defensive end. He finished second on the team with 84 tackles.

“It just jumps out at you,” head coach Mike Pettine told the team’s website. “As you go through this process, sometimes it gets very complicated with the numbers and statistics and the measurables. We have a saying that the best predictor of future success is past success. This is a guy who has a knack to find the quarterback. He’s a guy that we’ve had our eye on for a long time throughout this process, and we’re very excited for him to be a Cleveland Brown.”

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Orchard joins Paul Kruger, a fellow Utah alum, and Barkevious Mingo to give the Browns what could be a solid pass rushing attack from the outside.

“(Nate) was not a guy that had his hand on the ground a lot,” Farmer told the team’s website. “You go back and watch the tape this past year, they moved the kid all over the place. He played stacked, he played SAM, he played everywhere so I think it was the ability for him to not be pegged in one spot and move around and kind of use his skillset against a variety of people. You can see the kid has all the tools to have success.”

Originally recruited as a wide receiver, Orchard converted to defensive end at Utah, but he still retains the athletic ability that should help him rush the passer and drop back in coverage as needed.

“Converting from receiver to defensive end and playing both in high school, it allows me to be versatile and definitely helps me jump back into coverage,” Orchard told the team’s website. “It allows me to be more athletic and opens up more opportunities to do different things that I am required to do on the field.”

Grade: B

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