Atlanta Falcons Draft Pick Profile: DL Ruke Orhorhoro

In the second round, the Falcons took athletic penetrator Ruke Orhorhoro out of Clemson.
Clemson v Syracuse
Clemson v Syracuse / Bryan M. Bennett/GettyImages
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The Atlanta Falcons traded up for a penetrating defensive lineman out of Clemson named Ruke Orhorhoro. He is going to be a fun player in the defensive line rotation to work with Grady Jarrett, David Onyemata and the rest of the guys up front. Head coach Raheem Morris will love the energy he plays with and will absolutely utilize him all over the interior line. Orhorhoro will primarily be a weak-side 3-technique and 5-technique, but utliizing him in the A-gap at times, especially in nickel, could be something he ends up succeeding with.

Ruke Orhorhoro

Clemson University

Defensive Lineman


Athletic Comparison and Numbers

Ruke Orhorhoro is the most athletic defensive tackle in this draft. He's shown through his years at Clemson that he can play multiple spots because of his speed off the line. He's extremely explosive and in a similar way to Sheldon Richardson, is best at playing that hybrid defensive tackle and defensive end role. The Falcons hope he can be as productive as an interior rusher as Richardson was throughout his career and someone who can be a penetrator on run and pass plays. Orhorhoro will likely want to add around 5-10 pounds to his frame to continue adding to his strength.


Stats and Awards

2023: 12 Games Played, 25 Tackles, 8.0 Tackles for Loss, 5.0 Sacks, 3 QB Hurries, 1 Pass Deflections, Third-Team All-ACC
2022: 13 Games Played, 23 Tackles, 8.0 Tackles for Loss, 4.0 Sacks, 2 QB Hurries, 5 Pass Deflections, Third-Team All-ACC
2021: 13 Games Played, 36 Tackles, 8.0 Tackles for Loss, 2.5 Sacks, 3 Pass Deflections
2020: 4 Games Played, 1 QB Hurry
2019: 10 Games Played, 4 Tackles, 1.5 Tackles for Loss, 0.5 Sacks


Highlight Reel


Scouting Report

Strengths

If there was ever an NFL defensive lineman frame and athleticism created in a lab, it'd be Ruke Orhorhoro's. His athleticism translates with explosiveness off the line. He has long arms and uses them to get his hands in there quickly. He's excellent with his leverage and does a great job working down the line as well as up the field. He has a nasty demeanor on the field and plays like he hates offensive lineman. With his athleticism, he will be extremely useful on stunts and games up front with his fellow defensive lineman on the Falcons.

Weaknesses

The biggest weakness in Ruke Orhorhoro's game is his pad level and rotation. He needs to keep his pads lower and square with the play. Adding some weight would help him with his ability to get through duo blocks in the run game. He needs to get quicker at tossing blockers away. While he has fantastic speed, it hasn't translated to raw power for him yet. The Falcons will need to make sure to get him to work on both pass rush plan and his hand usage with the veteran crew that they have. He needs a lot of work there, and they could help him develop quicker.


Intangibles & Off-Field Red Flags

The Falcons got an elite competitor with Ruke Orhorhoro here. He's a vocal leader who makes players around him better and is one of the hardest workers on a Clemson team known for hard working players. He is beloved by players in his position group and will fit in very well with the Falcons. Long-term, it wouldn't be shocking to see him as an eventual captain for the defense. The Falcons have been drafting guys who have exceptional off-field intangibles and this pick is no different.

NFL Stylistic Comparison: Justin Madubuike

Much like Justin Madubuike, Ruke Orhorhoro has a weird name and is a penetrating 3-technique and 5-technique defensive lineman in a 3-4 alignment. Madubuike has made a great career as officially a defensive end, but he's more of a true defensive tackle in how he's used. That will be similar for Orhorhoro for the Falcons and his role. Madubuike was a raw player similar to Orhorhoro coming out as well, and eventually picked up enough technique to become an All-Pro. The Falcons are hoping for the same out of Orhorhoro.


How does he fit in with the Atlanta Falcons

Ruke Orhorhoro should instantly slot into the rotation at interior defensive lineman with Grady Jarrett, David Onyemata, Zach Harrison, Kentavius Street, LaCale London and Ta'Quon Graham. The Falcons have a ton of talent up front on defense at this point and are really trying to build the front line for the long-term. Orhorhoro is in the long-term plans as the eventual Grady Jarrett replacement. With how head coach Raheem Morris just had to find an eventual replacement for Aaron Donald in Los Angeles, the Falcons are going to try to have Orhorhoro be that guy for Jarrett in Atlanta.

Why Ruke Orhorhoro instead of Jer'Zhan Newton or a cornerback like Cooper DeJean or Kool-Aid McKinstry?

Jer'Zhan Newton had medical questions after missing out on the draft process with a foot injury and the Falcons decided that the best way to improve the pass rush was through the middle of the formation. Orhorhoro was healthier than Newton this process and really fits in well with what the Falcons really wanted out of their defensive line selections in this draft. While the cornerbacks could have been good picks as well, the Falcons decided to go with a different spot.

All advanced stats are courtesy Pro Football Focus or Football Outsiders. All traditional stats are courtesy of official team websites, NFLGSIS or CFB Stats. All RAS and athletic testing numbers are courtesy of DraftScout.com and Kent Lee Platte's RAS Football website.