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2020 NFL Draft

Cleveland Browns select Utah LB Nate Orchard in 2nd round

The Browns selected Utah linebacker Nate Orchard in Friday's second round with the 51st pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

The Browns received the pick in a trade they made earlier in the night with the Houston Texans.

Orchard, a 6-foot-3, 250 pound former wide receiver recruit, posted 18.5 sacks during his senior season with the Utes and led the nation in quarterback knockdowns with 28. The three-year starter played in all 50 games of his career.

"It just jumps out at you," Browns coach Mike Pettine said. "As you go through this process, sometimes it gets very complicated with the numbers and statistics and the measurables. We have a saying that the best predictor of future success is past success. This is a guy who has a knack to find the quarterback. He's a guy that we've had our eye on for a long time throughout this process, and we're very excited for him to be a Cleveland Brown."

Though he didn't put up the same kind of sack numbers, Orchard was still productive enough to earn honorable mention All-Pac-12 as a junior.

"He was not a guy that had his hand on the ground a lot," Browns general manager Ray Farmer said. "You go back and watch the tape this past year, they moved the kid all over the place. He played stacked, he played SAM, he played everywhere so I think it was the ability for him to not be pegged in one spot and move around and kind of use his skillset against a variety of people. You can see the kid has all the tools to have success."

Orchard finished third in Utah history with career sacks (25) and tied for second-most in tackles for loss (38.5).

"Converting from receiver to defensive end and playing both in high school, it allows me to be versatile and definitely helps me jump back into coverage," Orchard said. "It allows me to be more athletic and opens up more opportunities to do different things that I am required to do on the field."

Orchard primarily lined up as a defensive end in Utah's 4-3 defense. He's set to take on a role as an outside linebacker in Cleveland's 3-4.

"Converting to outside linebacker for the Browns, that's something that I am excited for," Orchard said. "I can't wait to get coached up by coach Fleury and do amazing things and be under his wing with the rest of the outside linebacker group. I get to have Paul Kruger there, a former Ute., so I am looking forward to learning from him."

Orchard first met with the Browns at January's Senior Bowl. Two months later, he had dinner with Browns defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil and outside linebackers coach Brian Fleury in Salt Lake City.

"Things went well," Orchard said. "From there on, I knew they were interested a little bit, but I didn't know I would end up being here and be a Brown."

Orchard joins a group of Cleveland pass rushers that includes veteran Paul Kruger, a fellow Utah product whom Orchard got to know last summer. The two worked out together when Kruger visited his old stomping grounds.

Cleveland's outside linebackers accounted for 16 sacks in 2014, with 11 coming from Kruger.

Orchard was known as Nate Fakahafua during his first two seasons at Utah before he took on the last name of his guardians, Dave and Katherine Orchard. Orchard's parents were born in Tonga and he was born in Los Angeles.

"I knew that the Orchard family was true to me, and I changed my name to theirs in their respects that these are my parents and I'm proud to call them mom and dad," Orchard said. "I changed my last name to theirs right before I got married."

Orchard is the third new addition to the Browns, joining first-round picks Danny Shelton and Cameron Erving.

Former Browns Pro Bowl defensive back Hanford Dixon announced the pick.

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