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ESPN NFL Draft analyst tabs Bengals as fit for Brian Branch

Cincinnati could be the best landing spot for the Alabama DB.

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Kansas State at Alabama Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last few seasons, the Cincinnati Bengals have had one of the best safety duos in the NFL.

With the departures of both Jessie Bates (Atlanta Falcons) and Vonn Bell (Carolina Panthers), Cincinnati had to hit the reset button in the secondary.

The Bengals drafted Dax Hill last season with their first-round pick and recently signed free agent Nick Scott to help bolster the safety room.

Even with those two guys in the building, Cincinnati is still being tabbed as a fit for Alabama’s Brian Branch, according to ESPN’s NFL Draft Analyst, Matt Miller.

Miller stated: “Alabama defensive back Brian Branch didn’t help his stock with a 4.58-second run in the 40-yard dash at the combine, but scouts I spoke to this week believe he’s still the best safety in the class and a firm Round 1 talent. Branch was a leader for the Alabama defense and had 12 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 7 pass breakups in 2022. Teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Bills, and Eagles all make sense from a value and need standpoint.”

Branch posted a 4.58 40-yard dash, 1.56 10-yard split, 34.5” vertical jump, and 10’5” broad jump at the NFL combine.

NFL analyst Lance Zierlein believes Branch’s NFL comparison is Minkah Fitzpatrick.

Zierlein states Branch’s strengths include his football intelligence, range and instincts, is fast and strong for his size, has agile feet, has reactive quickness and burst, and is able to diagnose runs and pursue runners.

The Alabama star could be a step-in-and-play kind of guy for Lou Anarumo and his defense.

Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network stated, “Even after the Combine, he still grades out as a top 15 prospect on my board and is well worth consideration in the middle and later portions of Round 1 in the 2023 NFL Draft.”

The NFL Draft is set to take place in Kansas City from April 27-29.