New England Patriots Receive a Solid Grade for Alan Branch Signing
By Nick Ziegler
The New England Patriots recently re-signed defensive tackle Alan Branch. What grade did they receive for the move?
This offseason, the New England Patriots had plenty of key free agents that they needed to re-sign. One of the most important was defensive tackle Alan Branch.
Last season, Branch had one of the best seasons of his career. He was the anchor in the middle of the Patriots’ run defense despite being over 30-years-old. Branch has been with the Patriots for the past three seasons, and now he will be there for at least two more.
It was a bit surprising to see how dominant the Patriots’ run defense was last season, and one of the main reasons why was because of Branch. According to Pro Football Focus, Branch was ranked as the 25th best overall defensive lineman last season. Against the run, Branch was rated extremely high as the ninth best defensive lineman
Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus recently graded the signing of Branch. The Patriots received a solid grade of a B. Here’s what Monson had to say.
"Alan Branch proved this past season what impact he can have on the New England defense, and was a run-defending monster for the team down the stretch and into the playoffs. Branch also played the most snaps of his career (760 including playoffs), earning the second-best grade of his career, too (80.4)."
So far, the Patriots have been very active this offseason. They spent a lot of money on cornerback Stephon Gilmore, and they were also able to re-sign safety, Duron Harmon.
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Having those two in the secondary will certainly help the Patriots’ pass defense. However, Branch was key for them to maintain their strong run defense. With Branch back, the Patriots’ defense is shaping up to be very good once again.