NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Clemson DE Andre Branch
|03.07.12 at 10:00 am ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2012 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Position: Defensive end
Weight: 260 pounds
Achievements: All-America second team (2011), All-ACC first team (2011), finalist for 2011 Ted Hendricks Award (nation’s top defensive end)
What he brings: Branch is a strong, all-around athlete who can fit well in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. Branch’s primary talent is his ability to rush the passer, as he is very flexible and shows a consistent ability to beat blocks and dart around linemen, and his skills improved every year in college. Branch is considered to be a good option for teams that want to convert a player to linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, which is an area of weakness for the Patriots. His balanced game, good speed and stamina make him a highly palatable pick.
Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1
Notes: Branch led the ACC in tackles for loss (17) and sacks (10.5), and he finished second on his team in total tackles (85) and quarterback pressures (17). … Branch enjoyed his best game of the 2011 season in a 23-3 victory over Virginia Tech on Oct. 1, registering six tackles for loss and four sacks in that game. … He pulled out of the Senior Bowl due to a groin injury.
Video: Here is Branch in action against Virginia Tech.