Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, these are a few of the NFL teams reported to have interest in former Utah defensive end Nate Orchard. The former Mayor of Sack Lake City has rocketed up draft boards in the past year after posting an 18.5 sack season and having an impressive showing at both the Senior Bowl and the NFL combine. At 6-3 255 lbs., Orchard's position in the NFL is a highly debated topic, as many NFL scouts envision him moving to an outside linebacker position in a 3-4 scheme (Browns, Texans and Colts) while others see him as an edge rusher in a 4-3 scheme (Bucs, Seahawks, Falcons, Jaguars). So which organization would be able to maximize the talents of Nate Orchard? Which team would set him up for the best chance to have success in the NFL?
The Seattle Seahawks seem to be the best fit for an athletic, undersized defensive end looking to have success in the NFL. The success of Seattle's defensive line in recent years is no secret after back to back Super Bowl appearances, which included maybe the best defensive showing ever in a Super Bowl in 2013, when the defense was able to hold the Denver Broncos record setting offense to only 8 points. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is a defensive mind and he and his defensive coaches are able to get the very best out of players other NFL teams discarded or didn't know what to do with.
The knock from NFL scouts on Orchard playing defensive end is, he is undersized and a finesse player that
One indication that Seattle would be an ideal fit for Orchard, is the success of a former Seahawk who Orchard very much resembles. That player is current Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Chris Clemons. Orchard and Clemons have a similar size (both 6-3 weigh in the 250 lbs.
Clemons was released by Seattle after the Super Bowl XLVIII as a cap casualty and in 2014, the Seahawks failed to provide the same pressure without a pure speed rusher at the LEO position. Drafting Orchard would provide the Seahawks with a nearly identical skill set as Clemons had, but in the body of a 22 year old.
Where Orchard ends up is any one's guess at this point. It's very possible he'll go to a team with plans on moving him to outside linebacker. Orchard's strength is rushing the passer however. If Orchard winds up with a veteran team that allows him to pin his ears back and play in a familiar position of weakside defensive end, his odds of becoming a successful player in the NFL will be greatly increased.