Player: Andre Branch.
Round: 2. Selection: No. 38.
Position: Defensive end.
Ht: 6-4. Wt: 270.
Branch started the final 27 games of his college career at Clemson's "bandit" position, finishing 15th in the nation as a senior with 10.5 sacks. He appeared in 48 games, finishing his career with 197 tackles and 17.5 sacks with 33.5 tackles for losses. He also caused and recovered a fumble.
Jaguars Director of Personnel Terry McDonough says: "He fits what we do. It's no secret that we had a need for someone who could rush the passer. He has in the business s what you like to refer to as quick twitch."
"I'm here to rush the passer and that's what they want me to do, so I'm ready to do that. I feel like I can't be blocked one on one. With that mentality, I know I can't be stopped."
How it happened:
Unlike the first round, the Jaguars made no move at the top of Round 2. They didn't trade back or trade down, instead staying at No. 38 to select Branch. McDonough said a number of teams were calling to trade up for the pick.
Branch is an athletic player who wasn't rated highly entering his senior season, but who finished 15th in the nation in sacks as a senior. Analysts believe has enough size and athleticism to have been considered by teams as a 4-3 defensive end and a 3-4 linebacker. He is the first Clemson player ever selected by the Jaguars in the draft. McDonough said the Jaguars didn't see him as a 3-4 linebacker. "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 also considers himself a 4-3 end first.
What he brings:
The ability to rush the passer. "He can close," McDonough said. "He has closing quickness he has violence." McDonough said he believes defensive line coach Joe Cullen can maximize Branch's potential, and that Jaguars Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker and Cullen coveted Branch. "It's nice when your coaches desire matchup with what the scouts' wants," McDonough said.
Why it happened:
McDonough said the Jaguars entered the draft with two obvious needs. One was No. 1 receiver, which they addressed with Justin Blackmon Thursday. The other was pass-rushing defensive end, and McDonough said this was a situation in which need met value. "We were fortunate enough to have that fall to us," McDonough said. According to McDonough, Branch was the top-rated player on the board when the Jaguars selected and that if Branch hadn't been available, they likely wouldn't have gone pass-rushing end in the second round. Branch is more of a right end, McDonough said he likely will eventually play that slot, but he can play both.