Alan Branch   DT   Michigan

 

STRENGTHS 

Alan is the biggest, most talented, purely athletic DT that I have seen in a long time.  He controls the line of scrimmage from hash mark to hash mark.  He is a big, powerful kid who has nimble feet and knows how to use leverage to get the advantage on his opponent.  He swallows up double teams and disrupts a pulling offensive guard with ease.  Alan seems to be a team player and does not mind being that worker bee DT that is so important for a successful defense.  Alan Branch is the type of player you build your defense around.  He shows me good mental strength and leadership qualities in his play on the field to go along with his athletic talent and size. 

 

NEEDS TO IMPROVE

Alan will have to learn to handle the pressures of being an NFL player.  He will have to learn the usual technical aspects of his position because up until now, he has been able to overpower his opponents with his natural size and strength.  All this kid needs is repetitions and experience; he should be a dominating force at the next level. 

 

TALENT BOARD ROUND: 1

Alan will be a force at the next level that every offensive coordinator will have to account for on every single play.  He will most likely require double-teaming on most plays, which will free up other players to commit impact plays.  Alan is ready for the next level football-wise, but you always worry about a junior coming out early.  Maturity and work ethic will be the only two issues that will stop Alan from being an excellent DT.  He can play in any defensive system and although he does not have the quickest burst off the line, this will get better with experience.  He can be a good pass rusher in time with a little more technique work and experience; however, his biggest strength will be his ability to control the line of scrimmage from hash mark to hash mark.  Alan is a franchise player with the potential to be one of the better DTís to play at the next level.  His worth will not be measured on a stat sheet.  It will be measured by how many playoff games, Super Bowl games and Pro Bowl games he plays in.  Alan is like that tree in the forest.  You know, that tree that everyone is always trying to figure out if when it falls, does it make a sound?  He is my answer to that age-old question -Ė who cares?  All I know is that I donít want to be caught dead under it.  Thatís how I feel most offensive linemen are going to feel going up against Alan after a game is over.  They are going to feel like a tree fell on top of them and they will not care how many tackles or sacks Alan may have or may not have in the game.  All they are going to know is that he kept leaning and falling on them all game long and their bodies are going to feel it for the rest of the week. 

Drew Boylhart

January/2007