Skip to main content

'Hard Knocks' stars Devon Cajuste, Nate Orchard cut

His was a heartwarming story most everyone could get behind, but Devon Cajuste's chapter in Cleveland has come to a close.

Cajuste and teammate Nate Orchard were included among Cleveland's cuts made before the league's Saturday deadline to trim the roster to 53. Orchard, a defensive end, and Cajuste were two of the bubble players featured in this season of HBO's Hard Knocks.

Cajuste entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Stanford, signing with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016 before landing on Green Bay's practice squad after the conclusion of the preseason. He signed with Cleveland in January and became a star on Hard Knocks, playing through a shoulder injury in Cleveland's Week 1 win over the New York Giants and spending extra time after practice to work on his blocking with Darren Fells.

The series also pulled at the viewers' heartstrings by working in Cajuste's strong bond with his father, who has battled through many health issues over the years while his son has fought for a football life of his own.

Cajuste also had a thing for rocks (and their vibrations) and the moon.

Orchard, on the other hand, was entering his fourth year with the Browns after the team selected him out of Utah in 2015. He'd bounced in and out of the lineup during his time with the Browns, showing desirable speed off the edge but never making a consistent impact. He recorded five sacks and 65 tackles in 34 games with the Browns from 2015-2017, but found himself in a battle for a job with fellow Hard Knocks star Carl Nassib.

Orchard struggled during this preseason, which the series showed while also counterbalancing it with an inside look at his family life. It wasn't difficult to feel for a father of three trying to keep his football career in Cleveland alive, especially after he was one of those who lived through some of the leanest years in pro football history.

"I must be allergic to sacks," Orchard memorably said out of frustration after he whiffed on multiple would-be sacks during Cleveland's Week 2 loss to Buffalo.

Orchard's late push to make the team came in Week 4 of the preseason when the defensive end dropped into coverage, intercepted Lions quarterback Matt Cassel and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown. It seemed as though he'd finally broken through his struggles, and on the heels of the Browns releasing Mychal Kendricks, might have done enough to grab a final spot.

Cajuste did his part in Week 4, too, catching a 41-yard pass on Cleveland's opening scoring drive against Detroit and finishing with two receptions.

In the end, though, it wasn't enough. As is the case with so many NFL hopefuls, they're out of work for now and left to wait to learn of their next step in their football journeys.

UPDATE: The Browns waived Nassib on Sunday after claiming five players via waivers.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content