Sack specialist Branch a perfect fit for Jags

by - Senior Writer -
Clemson Tigers defensive lineman Andre Branch participates in an interception drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE)

Andre BranchAndre Branch
Defensive End
#40 6-5, 260
Richmond, VA

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made a habit of getting to the quarterback during his tenure at Clemson, and that led the Jacksonville Jaguars to take him in the second round (38 overall) of Friday’s NFL Draft.

The 6-4, 270-pounder started the final 27 games of his career at Clemson, and in 2011 he finished 15th in the nation with 10 ½ sacks. He played in 48 career games, and ended up with 17 ½ career sacks and 33.5 tackles for loss.

Terry McDonough, the Director of Player Personnel for Jacksonville, said Friday that Branch is exactly what the team was looking for at that point.

“He fits what we do. It’s no secret that we had a need for someone who could rush the passer,” McDonough said “He has in the business s what you like to refer to as quick twitch.”

Branch says he is ready to get to work.

“I’m here to rush the passer, and that’s what they want me to do, so I’m ready to do that,” the Virginia native said. “I feel like I can’t be blocked one on one. With that mentality, I know I can’t be stopped.”

Branch is the first ever Clemson player selected by the Jaguars, and many analysts believed he would be a better fit as a rush linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. McDonough said the Jaguars see Branch as more of a defensive end.

“This is a different body style (than a 3-4 backer), so we didn’t worry about the 3-4 teams in front of us,” McDonough said. “We looked at him strictly as a 3-4 end.”

Branch said he is just happy to finally know where his new home will be.

“I’m just happy to be in Jacksonville,” Branch said. “They said they needed a pass rusher and I know I’m a great pass rusher so I knew I would be a great fit for them.”

Joe Cullen, the defensive line coach for the Jaguars, finished by giving the media a quick scouting report on his newest player.

“He has a great motor,” Cullen said. “He plays hard. He has the ability as an edge rusher. He can beat the tackle with speed and he has the ability to finish plays. He can beat the tackle with speed and has the ability to bend. He has the ability to finish plays. He has the ability drop his shoulder and close on the quarterback.”

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