Pac-12 vs SEC NFL Draft Prospects: Edge Rushers

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Nov 29, 2014; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Nelson Spruce (22) receives as Utah Utes defensive end Nate Orchard (8) covers in the second quarter at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Playing Linebacker in Space

The reason I’ve heard that Orchard isn’t a higher-rated prospect is because he’s too undersized to be a 4-3 defensive end. But they see no problem for Ray, who’s 10 pounds lighter as they see the athleticism to move to 3-4 outside linebacker. But Orchard has more than enough athleticism to move to 3-4 outside linebacker but  they don’t say that about him.

He’s not as fast in a straight line nor does he jump as high but Orchard is more fluid and changes direction and reacts faster. He did go to Utah as a 220-pound receiver and put on 35 pounds over a 3-year period as he played defensive end. He has also stood up and dropped in coverage at Utah and he didn’t have a problem doing so as he is athletic as he needs to be.

That same change of direction that counter moves and planting his foot come from is what helps him when he’s in coverage. Orchard translates because switching from receiver to defensive end is much harder than end to outside linebacker. Plus he’s already better against the run because he’s so much more skilled at shedding blocks and setting the edge with technique.