The Miami Dolphins continue to hunt for defensive ends to back up Cameron Wake and Mario Williams, and potentially spell Wake, allowing the team to use him as a pass rush specialist. The latest player to schedule a visit with the Dolphins, a visit that will start on Tuesday night, is a 2012 second-round Draft pick:
Per source, Dolphins bringing in Jaguars DE/OLB Andre Branch for visit tonight and Wednesday.— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) March 15, 2016
Branch, 26, has recorded 14 sacks in his four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, primarily serving as a reserve defensive end. He has appeared in 51 games, but started just 13, with 10 of those coming in 2015. Along with the 14 sacks, Branch has recorded 11 passes defended, 5 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries with a touchdown, and 90 tackles.
Branch, despite his 6-foot-5, 265 pound frame, is more of a run stopping defensive end/linebacker than he is a true pass rusher, which, honestly, could fit exactly what Miami wants. Prior to the start of free agency, Big Cat County, SB Nation's Jaguars blog, wrote of Branch:
Branch is a bit of a weird case in that if you look at him physically, he looks like an NFL pass rusher. He appears like he has that athletic ability to come off the edge and put pressure on the quarterback in the backfield, but he doesn't. He's a bit of an odd cast in that he's actually very good at holding the point of attack against the run and plays like a strongside end in a weakside end's body. It's one of the reason Branch has seen so much action in the LEO rotation despite his struggles to rush the passer, he's very good holding up against the run.
If the Dolphins are looking for a player to stop the run, then be replaced by Wake in pass rushing situations, Branch could be exactly that. The Dolphins coaching staff could also look at Branch and believe they can do better with him than the Jaguars were able to do. Whether or not that is the case would have to be seen in the future, but he does seem to fit the idea of what Miami wants in a reserve defensive end this offseason.