If you told a Badgers fan back in 2015 that Chris Orr would only start a majority of the games in two of his five seasons in Madison, they’d likely not have believed you. After starting eight games as a true freshman, Orr would tear his ACL on the very first play of 2016 as a starting inside linebacker next to Jack Cichy (yes, Orr started in front of both T.J. Edwards and Ryan Connelly prior to his injury).
However, once he returned in 2017, he was lost in the shuffle behind Cichy, Connelly and T.J. Edwards, and mostly played special teams. 2018 was similar, with Orr rotating in on defense and mostly playing on special teams.
In 2019, Orr showed up lighter (was down to 214 in spring before being 225 for the season) and in better shape, and it’s tough to argue against the strategy. Orr had 78 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks, making one of the top sack pairings in the nation with Zack Baun. Orr was the emotional leader for a Badgers defense that had a major turnaround from a down year in 2018.
Weight: 225 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.65 seconds
Vertical jump: 36.5” inches
Broad jump: 110” inches (9’2”)
Short shuttle: 4.08 seconds
Three-cone drill: 6.99 seconds
Bench press: 20 reps
*Testing numbers are from UW’s Pro Day, held Wednesday, March 11th.
Strengths: Orr plays like his hair is on fire. He’s got an endless motor, and an apparent passion for the sport. Plays downhill against the run like someone who’s 245 pounds, rather than 225. An extremely effective blitzer, as seen by the 11.5 sacks. Extremely instinctual as a player, which puts him in the right position more often than not. Has a professional pedigree. Played almost exclusively special teams in 2018, per request, to get on the field. That experience will help him.
Weaknesses: Simply, Orr is limited athletically. His numbers from UW’s Pro Day were better than expected, but on tape, he’s outclassed at times. He’s undersized, and will likely need to put some of the weight he lost back on to survive on the inside at the NFL level. Wisconsin doesn’t ask their ILB’s to do much in coverage other than underneath zones, so Orr will likely be asked to cover running backs in man coverage at the next level, which is less than advantageous.
Summary: Chris Orr has been an absolute pleasure to cover and watch over the past five years. He’s been a big part of the Wisconsin locker room and linebacker room during that time, and the team will definitely be hurt without him moving forward. Orr is a fringe-draftable prospect who will likely end up as an undrafted free agent, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he ends up making a practice squad or even a 55 man roster like his brother did with the Ravens as a UDFA. I don’t think Chris Orr will ever be a consistent starter in the NFL, but could be a depth player who excels on special teams.
Ideal Scheme Fit: Strong side inside linebacker in a 3-4.
Projected Round: 7th-undrafted free agent