Brian Branch is as sturdy as a tree (this is a branch pun) and with great football intelligence to boot. And now, he's a Detroit Lion. Although his combine results left much to be desired, his production and resume at Alabama make him one of the top defensive prospects in the entire draft regardless of position.
There is a slight worry that NFL game speed might be too much for him but even if he transitions to a hybrid linebacker role like Mark Barron or Deone Bucannon before him, he can be an impact player at this level.
School: Alabama (Jr)
Measurables: 6'0, 190 lbs.
Combine notes: 4.58 40-yard dash time, in just the 42nd percentile
Where he wins: Strong, smart and anticipatory, he wins the play before the ball is even snapped.
Areas for improvement: Occasionally tackles too high and can be beaten to the boundary by a fast receiver.
Helped Alabama to a national championship as a freshman in 2020, playing in 12 games. Was a first-team All-American in 2022. Although his physical numbers weren't the best at the combine, he really wowed scouts with how he interviewed and some are calling him the best tackler in the draft.
Attended the same high school as Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
A beneficiary of NIL deals, Branch has reportedly made over $600k in endorsements and sponsorships. Who doesn't love Krystal?
He's humble, look at how many times he gave props to his teammate Will Anderson Jr. in this cringey tiktok ad.
Branch is on the smaller side, but don't let that fool you. This guy can play and was incredibly productive in his time at Alabama. He fell for a reason — likely due to his size — but a move from safety to cornerback should make the Lions feel a bit better. He'll step in immediately to bolster the secondary alongside cornerback Cam Sutton and safety CJ Gardner-Johnson, both signed this year in free agency.