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Andre Branch, NFL Draft 2012: Pass Rusher With All The Measurables

In the second level of defensive ends likely to be available at the Falcons' pick in the second round perhaps no one has a more impressive frame, or set of measurables as Andre Branch, the powerful Clemson DE. He's a player who still needs room to develop as a defensive end, but like the NFC South's own Charles Johnson you can see flashes of a player who with a little grooming could easily break out and become a three-down DE.

At 6'4", 259lbs there it would be easy to unfairly label Branch as a 'tweener'. While I agree he has the versatility to be used in both 4-3 and 3-4 looks, make no mistake he's a 4-3 DE at heart. At the combine he ran an extremely impressive 4.70 in the forty, some 0.08 faster than top 15 lock Quinton Coples. If you couple this speed with his quick feet and strength you see a player who has the ability to become a force in the NFL.

A tall, long armed defensive end prospect with an athletic looking frame, good girth through his mid-section and has the size to get even bigger. Displays natural flexibility to keep his base down and sit into his stance. At times will uncoil at the waist and not eat much grass initially off the ball vs. the run game. However, when he does get off the ball on time, he always extends his long arms well, can gain initial leverage and anchor on contact. Uses his length well to control blocks, is a coordinated kid through contact who maintains balance and exhibits violent hands.

National Football Post

It's that balance and his use of hands that makes Branch such an intriguing prospect. These were similar qualities that Jason Pierre-Paul exhibited, but don't confuse his athletic ability with JPP's. For a team like Atlanta in need of a pass rusher, but who don't have a 1st round pick he is a prospect who makes a lot of sense and fills an obvious need.

In the 2011 season Andre Branch posted 10.5 sacks, including a signature 4 sack performance against Virginia Tech.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.