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Nate Orchard brings sacks, mature demeanor to Cleveland

The Cleveland Browns addressed several positions in free agency – wide receiver, defensive line, quarterback, tight end and cornerback.

But pass rusher wasn't one of them. Why not? Perhaps the Browns had their eyes set on a prized college prospect the entire time.

Enter Nate Orchard, Cleveland's second-round pick from Utah. Orchard sacked the quarterback 18.5 times in 2014, ranking second in the FBS.

"That's just my thing," Orchard said. "I just want to get home, get to the quarterback. That's the head of the snake right there."

The Browns showed interest as early as possible in Orchard. General manager Ray Farmer had conversations with him at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. A month later, defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil flew all the way to Salt Lake City with outside linebackers coach Brian Fleury for a lengthy dinner with the pass rushing prospect.

"I knew they were interested a little bit, but I didn't know I'd end up being a Brown," an elated Orchard said on a teleconference.

Orchard's main skill set is obviously rushing the quarterback, but that doesn't mean he can't create chaos on other parts of the field. His 84 tackles and 21 tackles for a loss show a player who gravitates toward the football.

The other attractive trait from the 22-year-old? Orchard has the Play Like a Brown characteristics coach Mike Pettine and Farmer have been hunting for in this draft.

Orchard is married with an infant daughter named Katherine Mae. Football and providing for his child are the sole focuses of his life.

"Football is going to be the way I feed my family, so I have to take it seriously," Orchard said.

Further, Orchard has already sought out fellow Utah alum and current Browns linebacker Paul Kruger for advice. Kruger visited his alma mater last summer, and the two connected.

"We talked about the NFL life and how it's so different from college," Orchard said. "There's a more business aspect to it. He was here last summer working out with the team, conditioning and stuff like that. So I had a chance to hang out with him. I'm looking forward to being a teammate."

Kruger and his 11 sacks will gladly welcome the help. A shoulder injury limited Barkevious Mingo to just two sacks last season while former Brown Jabaal Sheard registered a career-low two sacks. Cleveland also has up-and-comer Scott Solomon and Keith Pough in the outside linebacking room.

And now, Orchard.

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