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Draft Coverage

A CLOSER LOOK: Defensive back Brian Branch

Player: Defensive back Brian Branch, Alabama.

Pick: Round 2, 45 overall, after trade with Packers.

Ht.Wt: 6-0, 190.

Combine results: 4.58 40.

Stats: Three-year player, 40 games, 111 solo tackles with 19.5 tackles for loss.

Bio: Branch has three things going for him. He can play safety. He can play cornerback. And he can play anywhere in the secondary and play it well.

He was willing at Alabama to go anywhere he was needed.

He expressed that in his Combine interview, and it was something he already had backed up with his performance on the field.

"I can play anywhere in the back end," Branch said in his Combine interview. "I'm comfortable anywhere in the back end, and able to do it at a high level.

"I think my versatility is a great selling point for the NFL. Let them know – wherever they want me, I can play there."

Analyst's take: "Branch was a top-five safety prospect nationally out of Sandy Creek High School in Georgia, the school Pro Football Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson attended. Branch won the Georgia 5A Iron Man of the Year Award as a senior for his play on both sides of the ball, though he stuck at safety in his true freshman year at Alabama, playing in 12 games with three starts (27 tackles, two INTs, seven PBUs) in their 2020 national championship season. - Chad Reuter,

Tim Twentyman's take: "Branch primarily handled the nickel cornerback spot in Alabama's defense, but he can play either safety spots as well. An AP All-American this past season, he started all 13 games and recorded 90 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions and seven passes defended. He's arguably the most versatile defensive back in the class. The Lions get terrific value here at No. 45."

Mike O'Hara's take: "General manager Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell want players who love football. Brian Branch fits that mold."

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