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Insider: Branch lacks first-round instincts

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Recent posts by Nolan Nawrocki

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Posted April 18, 2012 @ 7:07 p.m. ET
By Nolan Nawrocki

The following quotes are from NFL executives, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

• “What really bothers me about (Clemson DE-OLB Andre) Branch — where was he earlier in his career? You can make excuses for him and say he split time with (Da'Quan) Bowers, but one-year producers have always scared me. They are chasing the money. Most guys change when they get it. … I thought his pad level was very inconsistent on tape. He’s a digester. He doesn’t feel blocking pressure. I can’t believe he has been talked about in the first (round). I don’t know any (other teams) that graded him there.”

• “To me, (Wisconsin C Peter) Konz does not play with any power. If he does not play with technique, he gets out of sorts. He is smart and tough. I don’t think he is anywhere near the Pouncey brothers. He’s a third-rounder for me.”

• “(Alabama S Mark) Barron was only about 85 percent recovered from surgery at his (pro-day) workout. He didn’t do any of the shuttles or quick movement stuff, but he ran and performed drills. He is the real deal. He is solid. You know exactly what you are getting.”

• “(Michigan State DT) Jerel Worthy is a con guy. I think that will hurt him. He was the most distracted interview we had. He was all over the place. You get excited by some of the flashes on tape — he’s a ‘wow’ player. But he don’t get it. Someone might take him in the first, but you would feel a lot better getting him in the second.”

• “(Stanford TE) Coby Fleener is rising. He does not get outside the first (round).”

• “(North Carolina DE) Quinton Coples tanked it (this year). His play scares me. I don’t know that we could pull the trigger. That’s a tough question, man. We’d have to think about it where we’re picking (in the back half of the first round).”

• “(Illinois DE) Whitney Mercilus is projecting higher as a 3-4 rush guy. That’s who I think will wind up drafting him.”

• “(Texas OLB) Keenan Robinson does not play with any technique. He ran slow (4.8 seconds). We had him in the third (round) during the fall. I don’t know if he goes until the fifth (round). It’s going to take him some time.”

• “(West Virginia DE Bruce) Irvin is starting to heat up in our place, but how high do you take a situational player with a history of issues? … I don’t think he is a bad kid. He’s just immature.”

• “I don’t think (Midwestern State OG) Amini Silatolu is a first (-rounder). I would not take him before the second. He has some issues that you can’t hide in (our town).”

• “(Oregon RB) LaMichael James ran too fast to get out of the second (round). I don’t think he will. We would strongly consider (drafting him) if he’s there.”

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