Edge rusher Nate Orchard survived cutdown day in Miami, but he couldn’t make it to Week 1. Per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins have released Orchard (Twitter link).
Orchard, whom the Browns selected in the second round of the 2015 draft, posted four sacks for the Fins this preseason, and he looked primed to open the 2019 campaign as a starting defensive end. Now, one of last year’s “Hard Knocks” stars will have to look elsewhere, though his strong showing this summer should earn him another opportunity fairly quickly.
The move is somewhat surprising given that Orchard is still young enough (26) for a rebuilding outfit like the Dolphins to carefully evaluate him over the course of the season. Plus, as Jackson notes in a full-length post, defensive line coach Marion Hobby praised Orchard at length just hours before he was cut. Hobby said, “[t]hat was the biggest thing, just watching him on tape. You can see from day one that he can run, that he can do some good stuff. I think he’s been doing a good job of taking coaching and sometimes you have to keep him focused.”
Without Orchard, Miami’s DE depth chart consists of Charles Harris, UDFA Jonathan Ledbetter, and recent waiver claim Avery Moss.
In a related move, the Dolphins claimed LB James Crawford off waivers from the Packers.