The New York Giants are thin at the safety position following the departure of starting safety Julian Love in free agency. As the 2023 NFL Draft rapidly approaches, New York has begun the search for potential replacements for Love. Most recently, the Giants have met with Alabama safety prospect Brian Branch on a top-30 visit, who many believe is the top safety in the class.
What could Brian Branch bring to the Giants?
If the Giants want to draft Brian Branch, they will need to target him with their first-round pick. Branch is projected to be drafted in the backend of the first round, making New York a prime landing spot with the 25th overall pick.
Branch is described by Keith Sanchez of The Draft Network as “a versatile defensive back prospect who has the ability to make plus-level plays at every alignment.”
In 2022, Branch spent much of his time in the slot. Pro Football Focus named Branch the best slot defender in this class, saying, he is “the best defensive back in this class when it comes to matching route concepts in underneath zone coverage.”
According to PFF, Branch was targeted 54 times in the slot this past season, surrendering just 14 completions. Branch’s 14 coverage stops also led all slot cornerbacks this season.
Branch won a second superlative from PFF, also being named “Best Tackler.” The Alabama defensive back missed only four tackles on 174 attempts in his collegiate career.
During his time with the Giants, Julian Love played a role similar to the one that Branch played for Alabama. Branch moved around the defense, playing a lot in the slot and in the box. Branch could fulfill the role that Love has left behind, giving Wink Martindale the versatile safety that his defense is missing.