Nate Orchard   DE/OLB   Utah

TALENT BOARD ROUND 1

STRENGTHS
Nate has the quick feet and hands along with the mature techniques to be a dominating defensive player for the team that drafts him. He can be used in a 3-4 defense as an OLB/DE or in a 4-3 defense line-up wide on the weakside up against the left tackle. He has an excellent burst off the line of scrimmage and because of his quick feet and football intelligence, Nate can be used on stunts as he understands how to time his blitz to get the most out of his skills. Nate is a leader and has the athletic talent to drop back in zone coverage if you need him to, but his strength is attacking the line of scrimmage with quickness and leverage to get into the backfield and disrupt or sack the quarterback. Nate is smart and will “strip sack” the quarterback and not just sack the quarterback. He is a turnover machine and looks to be an excellent teammate playing at all times within the context of the defensive game plan. Nate is the type of player you can count on in the 4th quarter to make the impact play that your team needs. He’s a leader on and off the field.

CONCERNS
Nate has the techniques to be strong against the run, but if he loses leverage at the point of attack, he struggles to get off blocks and make a play. Nevertheless he will turn his man quickly when he realizes he is being handled so others can make the play coming from the inside out or a safety or inside linebacker behind him can make a play. As I said, Nate is very smart.

BOTTOM LINE
I don’t think there is any doubt about Nate’s ability to impact at the next level, just what defensive front he best fits to magnify that impact. He is a technically sound football player who understands that team comes before his stats. He is the best “strip sack” defensive player I have seen come out of college in a long time and that means he is about “impact” more than stats. If you put him on the line of scrimmage and line him up wide and in space against a left tackle, he will impact quickly. However, if you’re running a 4-3 defensive and line him up tight he can get swallowed up with double teams and look very average. If you have him playing in a 3-4 defense as your OLB/DE he will impact, but attacking the line of scrimmage and not falling into coverage will be the best way for him to impact in that style of defense. His ability to come off the line of scrimmage and engage in space against a one-on-one situation is when Nate can show his true talents. Like I said, Nate is an impact defensive player and stats are not the only way he impacts a game. He is smart and a leader and someone every good defense needs to be successful.

Drew Boylhart
JAN/2015