2012 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

by Cory J. Bonini on April 16, 2012 @ 11:59:46 PDT

 


Clemson defensive end Andre Branch provides potential suitors in the 2012 NFL Draft with positional flexibility and a non-stop motor.

Branch racked up 10 1/2 sacks in 2011, and the senior posted two games with at least 10 tackles on the year. 

Andre Branch, DE, Clemson
Effort and athleticism

Strengths

  • Athleticism and versatility (can play defensive end in a 4-3 and 3-4 OLB)
  • Displays flexibility and leverage coming off the edge
  • Violent hands - plays with a bit of a mean streak
  • Understands his assignments and remains disciplined
  • High-motor guy - relentless in pursuit
  • Gives strong effort against the run
  • Long arms (34 inches)
  • Breaks down well in space as an open-field tackler
  • Good closing speed
  • Plenty of upside in the right scheme - ideally fits as a situational pass-rushing end in a Cover 2 base defense

Weaknesses

  • Erratic initial burst
  • Lacks ideal size (6-foot-4 1/4, 259 pounds) and strength to anchor against double-teams
  • Inconsistent - 4.0 of his 10 1/2 sacks in 2011 came in one game
  • Limited experience standing up as a rusher
  • Struggles to consistently maintain a low center of gravity
  • Needs to focus more on wrapping up his tackles instead of exploding through players

Expected draft placement

Branch could sneak into the late first round, but a mid-to-late second-round placement is far more likely. He could draw interest from the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, St. Louis Rams, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins.

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About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

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