Packers Sign Former Browns 2nd-Round OLB, Release Young RB

Orchard Packers Signing

Getty Nate Orchard #44 of the Cleveland Browns runs for a second quarter touchdown after intercepting a pass while playing the Detroit Lions during a preseason game at Ford Field on August 30, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan.

The Green Bay Packers are swapping out a young running back for a veteran pass rusher on their practice squad.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst released third-year running back Kerrith Whyte Jr.from their practice squad and signed former Cleveland Browns second-round outside linebacker Nate Orchard to take his roster spot on Thursday, November 25.

Orchard was the Browns’ second pick in the 2015 NFL draft (No. 51 overall) and started off strong with 36 total tackles, three sacks, four tackles for loss, four pass breakups and one interception over 15 games and 11 starts. A high-ankle sprain in 2017 ended his second season after just three games, though, and caused him to fall by the wayside in Cleveland until his release in early 2018.

Orchard has since played a combined 12 games for the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Football Team and had temporary stints with Seattle, Miami, Houston, Tennessee and Minnesota.

The Packers’ decision to release Whyte — a reserve rusher they signed after Aaron Jones injured his knee in Week 10 — could mean they are close to getting back their lead back. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Jones sustained a “mild” MCL sprain and was expected to miss one to two weeks as a result; however, Jones has participated in each of the team’s first two practices ahead of Week 12’s game against the Los Angels Rams.

“He did a nice job out at practice, and we’ll see how he progresses through the week and see where he’s at on Sunday,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said.

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Garvin Tests Positive for COVID-19

The Packers might need a few additional hands on deck at outside linebacker when the Rams come to town on Sunday with the status of two of their pass rushers — Rashan Gary and Jonathan Garvin — currently in question.

Gary, who leads the Packers with 5.5 sacks, is still battling back from an elbow injury that held him out of Week 11’s loss to the Vikings. He was initially listed as questionable and given a chance to play, which would seem to give him a good shot at playing again in Week 12 against the Rams. He was, however, limited in the first two practices and won’t be given an injury designation until after Friday’s final session.

Meanwhile, the Packers will almost certainly not have Garvin available after Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported the 2020 seventh-round pick had tested positive for COVID-19. The Packers did not immediately place him on their reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday, but once they do, he will need to test negative twice 24 hours apart and be asymptomatic before being eligible for return.

If neither Gary nor Garvin plays against the Rams, the Packers will be down to Preston Smith and recently promoted Tipa Galeai as their lone pass rushers. They will also most likely elevate La’Darius Hamilton from the practice squad for a second straight week, especially after they placed one of their four weekly practice-squad protections on him.

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