New Orleans Saints Draft Prospects: Utah DE Nate Orchard


While the free agent market is a viable option, the New Orleans Saints will likely turn to the 2015 NFL Draft to add a much needed pass-rushing presence on defense.  Utah DE Nate Orchard excelled in that aspect in college and could be a nice little snag in the second round or maybe even third round.

Named the nation’s top defensive end in 2014 Orchard offers quick feet, explosiveness and coordination, often beating tackles to get after the opposing quarterback.

Breaking out in 2014, he generated 18.5 sacks as a senior, setting the school record for a single season.  Orchard actually leaves college tied for third in Utah history with 25 career sacks, second in tackles for loss (38.5) and second in forced fumbles with 8.


"2014-Named to 10 All-America teams … first-team All-American by Walter Camp, FWAA,, Phil Steele, and SB Nation … second-team All-American by AP, Sporting News, USA Today and … won the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation’s top defensive end … Morris Award winner as the Pac-12’s best defensive lineman as chosen by the league’s starting offensive lineman … first-team All-Pac-12 … finalist for Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award … semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award (College Lineman of the Year) and the Chuck Bednarik Award (Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year) … started all 13 games (12 at right end, 1 at stud linebacker) … led the nation in sacks per game (1.46) and was second in total sacks (18.5) … 18.5 sacks set the school record, as did his 118 yards of losses on sacks … finished fourth in the nation in tackles for loss per game (1.6) and fifth in total tackles for loss (21.0) while ranking third in the Pac-12 in both categories … 21.0 tackles for loss tied for the second most in a season at Utah and 123 yards in TFL was also second … 84 total tackles ranked second on the team … led Utah with three forced fumbles … named the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week, Chuck Bednarik Award Player of the Week, Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week and CFPA Defensive Lineman of the Week for his efforts against UCLA … tied the school record with four sacks and had a career-high 11 tackles against UCLA … 10 tackles with 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble against Stanford earned him Pac-12 Player of the Week honors … 10 tackles vs. Arizona State … four TFL (2.0 sacks) and five total tackles at Oregon State … recovered a fumble and had a pass breakup and six tackles against Fresno State … seven tackles, two sacks and a pass breakup at Michigan … sack, forced fumble and pass breakup in Las Vegas Bowl win over Colorado State … invited to the Senior Bowl."

NFL Scouting Combine measurements:

Height: 6-foot-3

Weight: 250 LBS

Arm length: 33 3/4 inches

Hands: 10 1/8 inches

40-yard dash: 4.80 secs (7th among DL)

Vertical jump: 31.5 inches (12th)

Broad jump: 115.0 inches (7th)

3-cone drill: 7.28 secs (8th)

20-yard shuffle: 4.43 secs (11th)

60-yard shuffle: 12.06 secs

While Nate Orchard offers explosiveness as a top pass-rushing product, his ability, or lack there of to stop the run slides him down the big board a bit.  He could also take his aggressiveness up a notch and work on hand and arm power.  His tight hips decreases his versatility, leading to him rounding the corners to get after opposing quarterbacks rather than turning them.

He has just one productive year at Utah, which may also lead to his escape from the first and maybe even second round of the selection process.  If the Saints are willing to take the risk on the potential boom or bust prospect, Nate Orchard could wind up paying off handsomely as a solid pass-rusher to complement the struggling Cam Jordan and company on the defensive line.

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