Breaking: After having a successful season with the team last year, Detroit lions are inching to add him more years…

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell talks to general manager Brad Holmes after the joint practice with New York Giants at Detroit Lions headquarters and training facility in Allen Park on Tuesday, August 8, 2023.

For athletes hoping to elevate their performances, the second season is always crucial, and Lions second-year cornerback Brian Branch is a prime example of this.

The rookie of last year, selected in the second round by Detroit, had an instant impact, recording 74 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, three interceptions, 13 passes defensed, and one touchdown. Nine of the fifteen games he began saw all of it happen.

Branch might see a lot more playing time in 2024 if he can maintain his health, according to defensive assistant Jim O’Neil.

“With BB, they were a little more reluctant to simply sort of fix him at one location last year. We’ll be more active with him now that he’s starting Year 2,” O’Neil stated, according to the team website. We’ll push him to that because he’s the kind of player you want out there on all three downs. In the end, he still needs to report to training camp and accept that position.

In addition to demonstrating during training camp that he should be among the 11 Lions available for every defensive snap, Branch will also need to demonstrate his ability to play safety after spending the majority of his rookie campaign at nickel.

Because defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn asks his nickel corners to play the run so extensively, O’Neil remarked that Glenn prefers that his players have some safety in their history.

“Now it’s, can he make the next jump as a second-year player and can he make the next jump maybe just being fixed as a safety or maybe being a safety and a nickel,” O’Neil wondered. “That’s all things we’re going to figure out in training camp.”

Branch needs to get there first.

become well. While recovering from postseason surgery, he did not participate in the spring OTAs or minicamp workouts.

Branch is anticipated to be prepared for training camp, though, and Detroit is optimistic he’ll continue to develop the team’s youthful core of players, who aim to continue where they left off in the NFC title game the previous year.

O’Neil concluded, “I think he can be really good.” After his recent rookie season and some of the things he accomplished in terms of run fit, blitzing, and coverage, I believe he can be among the best in the league. I’m thrilled to have him. I’m very happy about him.

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