Preseason sack leader Nate Orchard close to earning Dolphins spot

Nate Orchard could make the Dolphins roster. The 2019 season is about discovering who can have a long-term impact on the Miami Dolphins. While looking for diamonds in the rough, the Dolphins may have discovered Nate Orchard.

The 26-year-old has only 69 career tackles in his six-year NFL career, but it seems he has found his niche in Miami’s new defensive system under first-year coach Brian Flores and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

“Yeah, I love the system,” Orchard said on Tuesday. “Patrick Graham knows what he’s doing. He’s able to put guys in positions to be successful and he’s doing that with me and a bunch of guys. He sees my skill set and what I can bring to the table, allowing me to stand up and have my hand in the dirt, as well.”

Orchard, who is listed as a linebacker, has the flexibility the Dolphins are looking for on the defensive side of the ball. He has even spent some time as a defensive back.

“Yeah, I did that with [Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator] Kalani Sitake when I was at Utah,” Orchard said. “So yeah, I’ve had experience. I’ve been in the league for five years now, so you get your hands in a little bit of everything.”

While he can do a little of everything, but Orchard is making noise this preseason as the league-leader in sacks with four after a two-sack performance against Jacksonville.

“I feel really comfortable with what we’re doing,” Orchard said. “They’ve moved me from a 5-, 9- or a 6-[technique], stand up, have my hand in the dirt. I’m comfortable being able to move around and play to my strengths.”

Keep in mind, the Dolphins are looking to find players who can rush the passer, Orchard knows he needs to continue to work in order to secure a spot on the 53-man roster.

“You’ve got to be able to block out the noise,” Orchard said. “Knowing what’s at stake, it’s tough. But at the same time, don’t let it take away from your game. Be who you are and approach each game, each snap, as if it was your last and just enjoy it as much as possible.”

Orchard, who wears the number four, may have a shot to even push for a starting job across from Charles Harris. The fourth game of the preseason may not mean a lot for most teams, but for the Dolphins, it is the last opportunity for a handful of players to prove they deserve a spot on an NFL roster.

The Dolphins play the Saints on Thursday night with kickoff scheduled for 8 p.m.

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