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SALT LAKE CITY — Former defensive end Nate Orchard was drafted No. 51 overall to the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft Friday.
Orchard is the third player selected by the Browns in this year’s draft, joining nose tackle Danny Shelton (No. 12) from Washington and center Cameron Erving (No. 19) from Florida State. He is the second player selected from the University of Utah. Corner Eric Rowe was selected No. 47 overall to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Prior to the draft, Orchard said Cleveland linebacker coach Brian Fleury and defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil took him to dinner and that's where he felt he needed to play for the Browns.
"We clicked instantly. I just knew, I have to be in Cleveland," Orchard said. "I know you guys want me. I want to be there. Let's make this thing happen. I'm just happy it came as soon as possible."
Orchard said he's looking forward to playing in Cleveland where his favorite NBA basketball player, LeBron James, calls home. He added that he's excited to team up with Shelton in Cleveland after developing a strong bond during the NFL Combine.
"All my life I've been a LeBron fan," he said. "I made best friends with Danny Shelton during the draft process working out with him. Now I'm in Cleveland with my favorite basketball player and with my best friend Danny Shelton. I couldn't ask for a better situation."
I'm chasing greatness. I'm so driven, mentally and physically. I'm relentless; I want it all.
Orchard was a relentless lineman at Utah where he had a knack for hunting down opposing quarterbacks. Orchard led the nation in sacks per game (1.46) his senior season. As a senior, Orchard was second in the nation in total sacks with 18.5. He concluded his career at Utah with 25 total sacks, which placed him third all-time at the university, and 185 total tackles.
"I'm chasing greatness," he said. "I'm so driven, mentally and physically. I'm relentless; I want it all."
Orchard said he has two main goals as he transitions into the NFL.
"The goal is to win the Super Bowl," he said. "But personally, I want to be the best pass rusher. I know I can be; I have the tools for it."
The opportunity to play in the NFL is something Orchard said is the best opportunity to take care of his family moving forward.
"This is what I live for," he said. "I just want to take good care of them. And I have the opportunity to, to take care of them for life. And so I'm going to make the most if it."
In the NFL, Orchard is projected as a linebacker but believes he can play at defensive end at the next level.
"I think it's perfect," Orchard said. "It either allows me to have my hands on the ground or be in a two-point stance coming off the edge. I think it allows me to show my versatility and helps contribute to the defense tremendously."
Contributing: Jeremiah Jensen