Biography: Two-year starter awarded All-American and all-conference honors last season with totals of 77 tackles/17 tackles for loss/10.5 sacks. Junior numbers included 55/7.5/5.
Positives: Athletic college pass rusher with potential as a conventional defensive end or outside linebacker in a 34 alignment. Plays with good pad level, quickly gets off the snap and rarely knocked off his feet. Works his hands throughout the action, displays outstanding movement skills and collapses down the line of scrimmage to make plays. Fluid changing direction, shows speed in backside pursuit and can bend off the edge. Has the ability to immediately alter his angle of attack and loses no momentum in pursuit. Slides off blocks to get to the ball handler and easily strings plays out laterally.
Negatives: Easily pushed from his angle of attack by single blocker. Does not always play with a sense of urgency or chase the action if the play is not in his immediate vicinity.
Analysis: Branch is an outstanding athlete with the ability to effortlessly make plays in every direction of the field. He has the skill to make an impact at the next level yet must be focused and play hard every down to reach the level of expectations scouts have of him.
Jim Dedmon/Icon SMI
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