Steelers Nation woke up to the news that Steelers free agent safety Terrell Edmunds would not rejoin the team in 2023. This leaves a void at the safety position despite the Steelers resigning safety Damontae Kazee a week ago.
As options in free agency continue to shrink for the Steelers, they could be faced with addressing their need for the position in the NFL Draft.
This is where Alabama safety Brian Branch comes in, and it would be an excellent fit for the Steelers at pick number 17.
Why Brian Branch could be the perfect fit for the Steelers safety needs
Branch’s biggest strength is his ability to play in the slot, as he did so very well, with Alabama having 569 snaps in the slot during the 2022 season. Branch also saw snaps with 136 in the box.
He scored an 86.4 grade in coverage and a 90.7 grade in run defense which has been one of Pittsburgh’s biggest struggles.
Branch played 768 snaps total in 13 games with Alabama in 2022, recording 58 solo tackles, two interceptions, and three sacks.
Above all else, the game film shows how impactful he can be on an NFL defense with playmaking ability all over the field.
Alabama safety Brian Branch is impressive. Primarily playing nickel, he’s a great fit in today’s NFL. Savvy in zone, reliable in man, and physical as a tackler/blitzer/run defender. pic.twitter.com/EqIoqOGqgs
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) December 27, 2022
It’s no secret that the Steelers reached on Terrell Edmunds despite his ability to improve over the years. Pittsburgh could take another shot at safety in the first round by getting Brian Branch, who has the skills to perform similarly to Edmunds and maybe even better.
The biggest issue is that the Steelers have many other needs to fill, even with safety being added to that list. Over the next few weeks, we will continue to explore 2023 draft day options for the Steelers, including the safety position.
Let us know what you think in the comments below. Do you think the Steelers should target Brian Branch in the first round?