Second-Year Duds: Andre Branch
The Jaguars selected Andre Branch was the 38th overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft to spark their anemic pass rush, but it didn’t happen in year one. Despite appearing in 13 games, Branch recorded exactly one sack and was a tremendous disappointment. He was handed the starting job, but was later demoted and ended the season on injured reserve.
Branch was the first defensive end off the board in many IDP rookie drafts a year ago. As 4-3 rush ends become seemingly harder to find it made sense to select Branch after the top linebackers (and possibly a safety) were off the board. This season dynasty owners are hoping that a new coach and scheme will help Branch become the impact player he was drafted to be.
Here’s a look at his disappointing 2012 statistics and 2013 projections from Jeff Ratcliffe.
There’s optimism that in new head coach Gus Bradley’s defense that Branch can take a big step forward in 2013. The new Jaguars’ GM Dave Caldwell has made positive comments regarding Branch’s future. But this is common practice when new GMs and coaches take over a team. They aren’t going to make negative comments about their new players.
Andre Branch is a bust. He was not productive in 2012, has shown to be susceptible to injury and is now playing a backup role under a new regime. Branch was also inconsistent and soft in college. He’s a second-year dud in 2013 and beyond.
Last season Branch played 421 snaps, rushing the passer on 250 of them. His pass rushing productivity was 4.5. PRP is a statistic that calculates sacks, hits and hurries divided by the number of snaps. For comparison, Cameron Wake posted a 12.9. Branch’s 4.5 ranked him 58th among 4-3 ends, five spots from the bottom of all players in that category who played at least 25% snaps.
His low tackle numbers also suggest that he wasn’t very active versus the run either. Overall his Pro Football Focus grade for the season was -9.0. He only posted one game with a positive score above one.
Branch’s season ended in week 14 with a groin injury. He was put on injured reserve shortly thereafter and had surgery in January. In April of this year he re-injured the groin during Jacksonville’s minicamp. The new injury may not be serious but it’s troubling for such a young player to not recover over an offseason.
I had concerns about Branch’s diva attitude and propensity to disappear in games while in college. Now he’s working behind Jason Babin at “Leo” rush end for the Jags. Babin would have to suffer an injury for Branch to play significant snaps in 2013. Even if an injury occurred, Branch hasn’t shown that he can produce impact fantasy football statistics.
He’s a dud. I’d avoid him in even the deepest leagues. In full IDP dynasty formats I’d look for an owner who may want to take a shot on his youth and move on.