COLLEGE PARK, MD - OCTOBER 15: Defensive end Andre Branch #40 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates during the closing moments of the Tigers' 56-45 win over the Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium on October 15, 2011 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Back on March the 2nd, Crackback wrote a nice piece on Clemson prospect Andre Branch which you can read here.
I really like Branch as a prospect, so I was delighted to hear that he impressed at Clemson's pro day on Friday. It held even more water when I was told that none other than Rex Ryan was in attendance running some of the defensive drills. Everyone in attendance came away impressed with Branch and I find it hard to believe that Rex Ryan was not one of them.
Crack commented that Branch's hands could do with some work and the comments to come from his pro day confirmed this. He looked good in positional drills, looked good dropping back and showed good mobility, explosiveness and quickness in his bag work. However the hands needed improvement, although ESPN commented that the hands improved as the drills progressed.
At 6-4 and 260lb's with 4.7 speed it's not surprising that Branch is climbing up draft charts with his impressive workouts. Rex Ryan was seen talking to him in between sets and with the Jets needing pass rushing help it's not surprising that two and two are being put together to make four.
He had 9.5 sacks in 2011 with 16 tackles for loss and 77 total tackles. The thing that I like about Andre is that he seems to recognise what he needs to work on and he shows signs of improvement. Early in 2011 it was commented that he didn't play with the best pad level and he needed to lower this into contact. Towards the end of the season he was doing this on a consistent basis.
He isn't the finished article by any means. I think he sometimes is slow to get off the snap and can get tied up a little bit. He will need to use his hands more at the next level.
He has nice closing speed, good discipline and a high ceiling for development. A lot of people see him more as a 4-3 DE at the next level but he showed at his pro day that he is comfortable dropping back and playing in space. He has a good frame to add a little more muscle and he has excellent length. With some defensive work this guy could really prove to be a very good 3 down linebacker at the next level.