2013 Free Agents of interest – Part 5 – Alan Branch, DT/DE


Alan Branch – DT/DE : 6’ 6’’, 325 lbs., 27 y/o, 6th season, 2nd   round pick in 2007 by Arizona Cardinals.

Alan Branch is the prototypical example of player that underachieves under a coach/scheme for then enjoy and explode in a second chance under a different coach/scheme. Back in Arizona he was almost  a bust, given that he was selected 33rd overall in 2007 and was projected as sure fire 1st round pick. So the first doubt on him was raised by national professional analysts when he wasn’t selected in the 1st round, and they try to motivate it by the fact that NFL teams tough he was a lazy mountain of a man. For some reason he didn’t produce up to his potential in Arizona and overall he started only 3 games out of 47 games he played in in his tenure with the Cardinals.

After his first pro-contract was over, Seattle signed him and magically he became, together with Mebane, the pylon of one of the best NFL DLine and overall defense.

How he turned around his career, probably only he knows, but I guess that schemes are a big part of it, playing alongside Mebane it could have helped at the beginning also, but I also think that self-confidence is everything for a NFL player. He didn’t have it that much in Arizona; he got it back in Seattle.

Now he is supposed to hit the free agency next spring again, and between all Nose Tackles available he’ll probably be the most pursued.

Now, I think that he could be a great addition to the Broncos DLine, if Bannan leave or Denver FO decided to bring him back but with less snaps (and he agrees with that), but this move will be probably expensive for the Broncos and any other team that wishes to win the Seattle offer, because Seattle surely will try to have him back.

His career stats as week 11 of 2012: 118 tackles, (80 solo), 8 sacks, 7 pass deflections and 2 forced fumbles.

Why the broncos would be interested:

  • I think he’s better than Bunkley.He will be a starter for the Broncos DLine and a really good one.
  • Again, Denver will have to look for DTs or in free agency or in the Draft, because Ty Warren will leave/retire, Bannan will be UFA, Vickerson will be RFA and Siliga will be UFA too.
  • He showed that he’s one of the best NT for the 4-3 alignment, less in the 3-4. So the competition for him could be with 4-3 teams, and SB contender that run a 4-3 defense and have  a need at DT are not that much, tough Seattle will be the team to beat for having his services.
  • He is still young at 27 y/o now, turning 28 in December. He could be around and at a really high level for at least 3 years…..that is exactly the length of the contract Peyton Manning signed back during the spring.
  • He played DT and DE in Arizona (running the 3-4 defense), and, if Del Rio will remain the Broncos Defensive Coordinator, it looks that the Broncos gives to DLine flexibility a lot of importance.

Why the Broncos could not pursue him:

  • I will be an expensive addition and the Broncos priority next offseason will be to re-sign Clady that will demand top left tackle money…..
  • Bannan is playing really good football and it’s more than possible that Denver FO wishes he’ll be in the mix next year with some in-house product that could develop more playing experience (Siliga or Unrein or a 2013 draft pick). The combination of Bannan plus an in-house inexperienced player will be for sure cheaper than Branch.
  • More than why the Broncos could not pursue him, this is more about him wanting to stay in Seattle. Seattle coaching staff invested on him and he re-gained his confidence there and is playing a decisive role on that team. Even if Seattle money offer won’t be the richest (and is still to be seen this point), he could still prefer to stay in Seattle and playing with that unit that is proving to be one of the best in the NFL.

Resume:

Alan Branch would be a fantastic addition at Nose Tackle for the Denver Broncos. He will be an immediate starter and will provide size, power and scheme flexibility to Denver DLine that will have to be re-tooled in 2013 free agency given the number of own Denver free agents at the position. He will be expensive and Seattle competition could be proven too tough to beat-out, but I guess the Broncos, if they like him, will make the strongest push they can.

Advertisements

About this entry