The New York Giants have many needs entering the 2023 NFL draft and although a bit further down on the list, safety is among them.
After losing captain Julian Love to the Seattle Seahawks in free agency, the Giants went out and signed Bobby McCain. However, they may not be done addressing the position just yet.
On Wednesday, the last day teams are permitted to hold top 30 visits, the Giants hosted Alabama safety Brian Branch in East Rutherford.
#Bama versatile DB Brian Branch is visiting the #Giants today, source says. A potential first safety off the board, he’s also visited the #Texans, #Commanders, #Raiders. #Vikings, #Lions, and #Eagles, while also doing the #Falcons local day.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 19, 2023
Branch is a projected first-round pick who some experts have going in the top 15. If he’s available when the Giants come up to pick at No. 25 overall, general manager Joe Schoen will have an interesting decision to make.
NFL Network draft analyst Lance Zierlein gives Branch a pro comparison of Minkah Fitzpatrick. He praises the safety for having a football IQ “through the roof.”
Plug-and-play defensive back with every ingredient necessary to become a high-performing starter early in his career. Branch has primarily handled nickel coverage at Alabama but has the range and instincts for single-high or split safety looks. He’s quick, fast and strong with the ability to match up with shifty slots, bigger possession receivers and pass-catching tight ends. He’s urgent and has a mind for the game. He takes playmaking angles into the throwing lane but does have a tendency to play it a little safe from off-man coverage. There are areas where he can improve but no real weaknesses, which could make him one of the safest picks in the draft.
Branch’s ability to cover physical, big-bodied wide receivers as a cornerback makes him even more intriguing. That’s something the Giants are very much lacking.