Q-and-A with rising pass rusher Craig Thomas

Q)How much did you help your stock at the Senior Bowl?

DE/OLB Nate Orchard – Utah: It helped me out huge. Not having a bunch of prospects there kind of put the shine on me.
It was good to be out there with the competition and the offensive linemen from different conferences. It was fun and made me a better player.

Q)Are you a better fit for defensive end or outside linebacker?

Orchard: Whatever the scheme is, I’ll adapt to it. I’ll definitely be good for whatever team drafts me.

Q)How much did you drop into coverage at Utah?

Orchard: A good amount. I’d say probably a good 10 to 15 times a game. Throughout my career I did a good bit of dropping.

Q)Are you more comfortable at 3-4 OLB or 4-3 end?

Orchard: I’ve had my hand on the ground for the last 10 years, so I think that’s probably where I’m most comfortable.
But a transition to outside linebacker wouldn’t be a problem just because I’ve been dropping into coverage a lot. It’s something I’m used to.

Q)A lot of top college pass rusher struggled doing it in the NFL. How do you avoid that?

Orchard: You always have to keep working on your craft. You’ve always got to get better. Guys I’ll be going against will be bigger and stronger, so the training has to be a little different. But you can always work on your technique and perfect that.

Q)Pass rushers seem to be in demand in pass-heavy NFL…

Orchard: Definitely. Sacks win games at the end of the day. That’s what teams are going to bring me in for and that’s what I’m going to perfect.