Defensive End Nate Orchard
Ever since being selected in the second-round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Nate Orchard has failed to live up to his expectations out of college. Orchard was known as a pass rushing specialist from his days as a Utah Ute, recording the second most sacks in the entire FBS in 2014.
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But when the Browns drafted Orchard, he was meant to play as an outside linebacker in Mike Pettine’s 3-4 defense. Ever since Gregg Williams took over as defensive coordinator, Orchard has been forced to play as a defensive end.
In his three-year career with the Browns, Orchard has only compiled five sacks and two forced fumbles. His lack of production has him on the roster bubble, most likely on the outside looking in as he enters the final year of his rookie deal.
But with the starters not playing on Thursday night, Orchard is likely to get a high amount of snaps at defensive end. If Orchard can wreck havoc in the backfield against the Lions, he could make a case for being kept as a depth defensive end.
Orchard does not have great odds because of the amount of Browns defensive ends that are pass rushing specialists. But with some of these players likely not playing a significant amount of snaps on Thursday, it will be a great opportunity for Orchard to show he can get to the quarterback.
He will also be playing against backup offensive linemen. If he can make easy work of the blockers, it could be a big night for Orchard, making it hard for the Browns to cut him. If the Browns decide to carry six defensive ends, Orchard could pencil himself in as the sixth defensive end.