The Jacksonville Jaguars have several tough questions to answer as they work towards cutting their roster down to 53 players this weekend, but perhaps the biggest name sitting on the roster bubble is last year’s second-round pick Andre Branch.
Most expected Branch to flourish as a LEO defensive end in new head coach Gus Bradley’s hybrid defensive scheme, but the results through training camp and the preseason have been underwhelming to say the least. The only thing that may be saving Branch’s roster spot right now is the Jaguars lack of depth behind Jason Babin at the LEO position.
The Jaguars figure to give Branch a ton of snaps in tonight’s final preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons and it will be up to him to give the coaching staff something positive to look at when deciding his fate this weekend.
Branch’s issues do not stem from a lack of speed, which he has shown several times this preseason in beating offensive tackles off the snap, but with his lack of ability to bend around the edge once he gets past a tackle to get to the quarterback. Without that ability to bend around the edge, offensive tackles have been able to keep pushing Branch up field and past the quarterback. This has led to many unfortunate situations in which Branch looks lost on the field, flailing his arms as he fails to get around the corner.
The one sack that Branch has managed to get this preseason came on a well-timed stunt with the defensive tackle that gave him a free run at the quarterback.
The new Jaguars regime has no ties to Branch, as he was a pick from the previous regime, so if they do not think he can help them they will have no problem cutting him or trying to trade him for whatever they can get.
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