The fourth Alabama player has been taken off the board.

Safety Brian Branch has been drafted by the Detroit Lions with the No. 45 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft on Friday evening. Branch joins Bryce Young (No. 1 to the Carolina Panthers), Will Anderson (No. 3 to the Houston Texans), and Jahmyr Gibbs ( No. 12 to the Detroit Lions) in being drafted thus far from the Capstone.

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Branch, coming out of Sandy Creek High School in Fayetteville, Ga.. was a four-star recruit and a Top-100 player in 247 Sports class of 2020. Many schools like Georgia, Oklahoma, and Ohio State really wanted the six-foot 190-pound safety, but in the end, coach Saban and The University of Alabama won the recruiting battle for Branch.

From the time he stepped foot on campus, Branch was a huge impact on all three defenses he was on. In 2020, he might have only got 27 total tackles as a freshman, but Branch had his best game of the season against Ohio State in the national championship as he broke up three passes and had two tackles.

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T - Ohio State v Alabama
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Branch continued to show improvement each year and ended his career with 172 total tackles, 111 solo tackles, four sacks, four interceptions, and 27 pass deflections. Even with all of this, many scouts did not see Branch as a first-round pick until the 2022 Sugar Bowl game against Kansas State.

In a game where he could have easily sat out, Branch decided to play his final game in the crimson uniform. Against the Wildcats, Branch put on a performance for the ages that showed scouts why he is worthy of a first-round pick. In a 45-20 victory for the Alabama Crimson Tide, Branch ended the game with 13 total tackles, 11 solo tackles, four tackles for loss, one sacks, and one interception.

Branch now joins a Detroit defense that looks to be one of the better units in the 2023 NFL season. Branch looks to be a key contributor to the Lions in hopes of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in February.

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