Top 5 players the NY Jets should completely avoid in 2023 NFL Draft

NY Jets, Brian Branch
NY Jets, Brian Branch / Justin Ford/GettyImages
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1. The NY Jets should not target Alabama safety Brian Branch

It's no secret that this is one of the weakest safety classes in recent memory. Aside from one player, most don't even have a single safety ranked inside the top 50-60 prospects.

That one player, the one exception, is Alabama's Brian Branch, who many believe will be a first-round pick this year. The Jets, with an obvious need at safety, could consider targeting him.

Branch is a well-rounded, versatile safety prospect who was named first-team All-American following a standout junior season at Alabama. The Crimson Tide primarily utilized Branch as a hybrid nickel defender/box safety, but it's possible his role could expand in the NFL.

That said, I have legitimate questions about his ability to play as a true free safety. That's perfectly fine because he's a dynamic talent down near the line of scrimmage, but it does make his potential Jets fit a little tricky.

The Jets' current safety duo of Chuck Clark and Jordan Whitehead share very similar skill sets with one another. Both players thrive near the line of scrimmage as traditional box safeties.

Ideally, the Jets would target a safety who has the range and deep-cover ability to play as a center-field free safety or at least as the deep safety in two-high coverage. I don't see Branch filling that role in the NFL.

Branch is my favorite safety prospect in this year's class, and he's worthy of a first-round pick, but 13th overall might be a little early for him, and I just don't see him as a great fit for what the Jets should be looking for.

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Branch should have a long and successful career as a productive NFL player, but the Jets should definitely explore other options at pick 13.