NFL Prospect Matchup No. 1: Nate Orchard vs Ty Sambrailo


Jul 23, 2014; Hollywood, CA, USA; Utah Utes defensive end Nate Orchard talks to the media during the Pac-12 Media Day at the Studios at Paramount. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

College Bowl season is the fun part of the football season for the scouting world and the media involved in it as well. Because this is the time that we get to see NFL prospects play against each other in a game that means something. Monday was the first matchup between two prospects and the winner stands a chance to make himself some money off of it.

The matchup was in the Las Vegas Iron Bowl and it featured left tackle Ty Sambrailo vs defensive end Nate Orchard. Sambrailo was a fringe 1-2 on most draft boards I saw while Orchard was looked at as a rounds 2-3 selection by most. Well, it turns out that the game itself was nothing to watch as the Utah Utes blew the Colorado State Rams out 45-10.

But for myself and the scouting world, it was all about the matchup that went to Orchard, who clearly looked like the better prospect. Orchard was very disruptive as he had Sambrailo struggling to keep up with his speed and counter-moves.  If you were just looking at the two young men, you would see that Sambrailo was working hard and Orchard wasn’t having problems.

He got to and around the quarterback, hit him and even manage to get his hands on a pass at the line of scrimmage. He had a sack in the game too but it wasn’t on Sambrailo however, no one who saw the game would say he couldn’t get one on him. Scouts are questioning his 1-step quickness and burst off the edge and around the corner but don’t see why.

Like I said before, I’ve seen him get off on the snap so quick, he was in the backfield by the time the quarterback caught the snap. He just doesn’t choose to try to beat his man around the corner every time, switching speeds and angles. Like I’ve said plenty of times, the kid just knows how to get to the quarterback and there’s no substitute for that.

The other supposed flaw or question on the former receiver is if he has the athletic ability to play outside linebacker in a 3-4. He looks plenty athletic enough to me and he rushes the passer so well you can just have him rush from the 3-4 90 percent of the time. Sambrailo is the third Top-10 left tackle prospect he went against this season and he won all three of the matchups.

He was always an early 1st-round pick to me but he had to have at least made his way up to the 1-2 fringe. Of course, he has more to show the scouts as the Senior Bowl is coming soon as every drill of every practice will be analyzed for days. And if he blows it up at the combine, he will have a meteoric rise up the draft board because he has so much production.

Sambrailo, for his part, I won’t say acquit himself but there were other more highly touted prospects that did worse against Orchard. But since it doesn’t seam like the scouting world loves Orchard and he’s from Colorado State, he’s probably going to drop further down in the second round. But I thought he showed the ability to use his length and that he has good agility for a young man his size.

The Senior Bowl and combine could be a big help to him too.