4

April

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: DE/OLB Andre Branch, Clemson

NFL Draft Prospect Profile Andre Branch, DE/OLB Clemson

Andre Branch, DE/OLB Clemson

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Andre Branch

Player information:

Andre Branch, Clemson
6’4″, 259 lbs
2-sport star in HS as a football tight end/outside linebacker and a basketball power forward.

NFL Combine:

4.70 40-yard dash
4.25 20-yard shuttle
7.19 3-cone drill
10.0′ long jump
32.5″ vertical jump
19 bench press reps
34″ arms
9″ hands

News & Notes:

Branch led the Tigers in sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (17) in 2011. Played primarily right DE at Clemson, but has the athleticism and measurables to handle the conversion to 3-4OLB.

What they’re saying about him:

Wes Bunting (National Football Post): At 6-4, 259, Branch has the athleticism to stand up. He can bend, turn and burst to get to the passer. He is similar to Whitney Mercilus, except not quite as dynamic. However, instincts could hold him back at OLB, according to one front office man.

Frank Cooney (CBS Sports): Branch is a raw, flashy, long-armed player with great closing speed but still has a long ways to go if he wants to excel in the NFL… Possesses a legitimate blend of explosive speed and power which could result in much improved play with greater technique. Can beat lethargic offensive tackles off the snap with his burst. Good upper body power to stack and shed, as well. Some untapped potential in this area.

NFL Combine: Branch is a tall, physical and athletic end who could move to outside linebacker for a team that runs the 3-4 defense. He should be able to regularly beat NFL linemen on the rush and disrupt the passer, whether he’s standing up or has his hand on the ground. Because of his versatility and pass-rushing ability, he should come off the board late in the second round.
Video:

Watch Andre Branch’s NFL Combine Workout

Video Analysis:

  • Ideal size/speed combination.
  • Active in pursuit, can chase ball carriers down.
  • Will have to get stronger and play with better pad level, especially against the run.
  • Needs to use hands better to keep blockers from getting into his body.
  • Could develop into an explosive edge rusher as a pro.
  • Should have the ability to drop into coverage with good success.
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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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23 Responses to “NFL Draft Prospect Profile: DE/OLB Andre Branch, Clemson”

  1. lmills says:

    Love this guy. I’ve had him on my Packer wishlist since I started looking at the OLB candidates for the packers. Not sure about him at 28, but wouldn’t be upset if that’s who we take.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  2. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    There don’t seem to be a lot of highlights for him on that film

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. Ron LC says:

    Needs some self-discipline. Good speed and seems to have decent tackling skills. Worth a 2nd!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. PackersRS says:

    I just don’t see it. He looks soft and slow to me. Lacking instincts is one way to put it. There’s something lacking with him, alright.
    If we do grab him, I hope I’m wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  5. BubbaOne says:

    As I stated in an earlier post, no thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  6. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor 12 says:

    If TT feels Hargrove will enable better play from the OLBs not named Clay getting a potential of Branch is fine but still a reach.If TT and MM feel S’oto,Zombo,Smith even with Hargrove aren’t the guys to offset Clay,please move on and get an impact day one guy and the potential guys for Kevin Greene in the mid rds.
    Some think Curry is a 4-3 DE..not me but he will take heat away from Clay and can get the passer.We can’t lose with him and is a much more better value than the reach that is for Branch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      Just about everyone thinks Curry is a 4-3DE. I’m with you, though. I think he would make a fine 3-4OLB

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • CSS says:

      I’m with both of you on Curry. He can’t make a living in space on pass coverage, but how many OLB’s can?

      I get the impression Capers likes guys you can move around in base, nickle and other fronts. You can do that with Curry.

      I don’t know if he’s a 1st round talent, but (said this elsewhere) I don’t ‘love’ a single 3-4 OLB in this draft. Every kid outside of Upshaw is basically a conversion guy you have to project to a 3-4. I would hate to make a living doing that evaluation, so hard.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • PackersRS says:

        McClellin played in a hybrid as a 3-4 OLB. IMHO safest guy.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

        • CSS says:

          Let me frame it like this (using Mike Mayock’s positional rankings):

          Would you rather take your chances on a Curry/McClellin (both have great film) in a 3-4 conversion knowing that they both offer a lot of flexibility when you change your fronts or play nickle?

          Or would you rather look to the mid-rounds to Mayock’s 5th ranked OLB prospect like Ronnell Lewis (who looks like he’s running in track meets, not playing football)?

          I like McClellin as well, but TT has to be confident he brings more to the table (overall) than other options currently on the roster.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • PackersRS says:

            The point is McClellin is not a conversion. He played as a stand up rusher. There’s tape of him rushing standing up (IMHO the most important factor in getting an OLB), and he’s done it well. It’s not like Curry who has never done so and you have to project that he won’t lose the burst from playing in a 3 point stance, which is completely different in terms of body leverage and control.

            I wouldn’t touch Rondell Lewis with a 10-foot pole, but that’s just me. IMHO it’s all athleticism and no football player. I feel similarly with Branch, but not to that extreme. Different from Bruce Irvin who I see the athleticism translate to the field (but wouldn’t pick him before the 3rd).

            Imma give you a long answer. I’d be very comfortable with the Packers taking McClellin, even in the 1st round (would rather see it in the 2nd). Melvin Ingram would be a dream to me, but I don’t see him falling. I would also be comfortable with them taking Curry, or Bruce Irvin in the 3rd (as a big project). And though I don’t think Upshaw will be a great pass rusher in the pros, his strenght, motor and savviness make him a solid prospect, so I’d be OK with that.

            The rest, Perry, Lewis, Branch, Mercilus, I don’t think they can play in our system. I would obviously have to trust management, they know much more than we do about these guys, but my opinion is that it would be a bad pick.

            I have been very wrong about pass rushers in the past, though (Hughes).

            Quite frankly, I don’t think we should spend a 1st round pick in a pass rusher (outside of Melvin Ingram), just none worth it.

            Would love if we could trade down and pick in the early 2nd, but if we can’t, Hightower, Barron or a DE would be my choice, if available.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

            • CSS says:

              I agree. There’s just nobody likely to fall to the #28 slot that has the wow factor/potential of a round 1 selection. I’m sure there will be a handful of surprise round 1 moves that hopefully push a value to the Packers.

              Happened with Bulaga, right?

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

              • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

                Maybe Mark Barron?

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

              • ThomasMagnumPI ThomasMagnumPI says:

                Mark Baron seems like about the only player that would provide more value to green bay at pick 28 than they would get by moving down to pick 40 or so and to the top of round 3. I thought that Konz would be the other, but its tough to tell where he could contribute in year one with Saturday, Sitton and Lang manning the interior.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

            • SchenySchen says:

              That is a long post. I like it though. I too have been wrong about rushers. I loved the Raji pick, and then sat wondering about trading up for Clay Matthews? Clearly, TT knows better than me. GoPack!

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

            • ThomasMagnumPI ThomasMagnumPI says:

              My thinking as much the same, in regard to pick 28. There is going to be talent available there butbit is a question of whether GB would be better served by trading down slightly in order to move up in the middle rounds. Unless there is a guy whose talent, at a position of need, cannot be passed on at pick 28, I would like to see TT do the Jordy Nelson shuffle this year, trading down into the early second, and up into the early third. Move that 4th round pick and the 1st round pick and I think that is pretty reasonable.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. SchenySchen says:

    Who says Upshaw is the only “lock”. That guy is getting a lot of downward steam lately. Too tough to find a position for him. Overpowered people in college but won’t be able to do that all the time in Pros and doesn’t have much else to offer. — I for one am still on the Curry bandwagon. Happy to have him either at 28 or trading up in 2nd to get him. GoPack!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. SchenySchen says:

    Regarding McClellin (sp?), I would rather have Curry because our need is pass-rush first. We have a well rounded OLB in Brad Jones, we don’t need another one if he can’t rush as well. GoPack!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

    I wasn’t a big fan of Branch’s… I think I had him ranked 9th among OLB prospects in my cheeseheadTV draft guide rankings. Since then, he has grown on me a little. I see more potential than I did at first, but still would rather have Curry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. gman says:

    My ten yr old son is a diehard Packer and football “expert” the kid understands football well beyond his years. He tells me who Aaron’s going to hit by formations and always knows who missed their block in live action. And most surprizing he watches someone a few minutes and says they suck or they’ll be awesome and he’s right alot.

    He wouldn’t go to bed because if “we get Bulaga we will win SB” he was the guy he wanted bad after the pick was sleeping with a smile on his face in 10 minutes.

    Last season we had to get Randall Cobb didn’t matter to him 1st or 2nd round just get Cobb and “nobody will beat us”
    ALMOST

    This year : just yesterday he told me Shea McClellin is the man this year.
    “If we get him Clay will probably get 15 sacks and Shea atleast 6″ cause he’s big fast and always seems to get to the ball.

    Not a profound opinion or statement for everyone. Just sayin…the kid’s got a good record so far…..and I am hoping for Shea just because!!!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0