Pac-12 vs SEC NFL Draft Prospects: Edge Rushers

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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

Nate Orchard

The 6’4″, 255-pound Orchard may not beat Ray in straight-line race but looks to have more burst off the edge, around the corner. His reaction time helps him consistently explode off on the snap, reminding me of Derrick Thomas. But he doesn’t depend on just speed as he also uses his quick hands well to make moves that come with counter-moves.

Orchard also has a feel for what opposing tackles are trying to do so when they are looking hard for his speed, he sets them up. He uses a quick spin move, the opposing tackles’ own momentum to swim under them or a plant of the outside foot to go by them inside. I really like his balance, body control and ability to contort his body or lean while trying to get himself around the corner.

Run or pass, Orchard has a high motor just doesn’t allow him stay blocked and an ability to jolt a tackle with a violent hit. That don’t-quit-until-you-hear-the-whistle motor got him a few late sacks well after the ball should have been thrown. This is why Orchard has those 17.5 sack to come in second in the nation behind Washington Huskies edge rusher Hau’oli Kikaha and it all translates to the next level.