4 reasons Steelers fans should not want Brian Branch at pick 17 in the NFL Draft
By Tommy Jaggi
2. Free agency is the way to go for filling safety need
One of the biggest reasons why I am not a proponent of spending the 17th overall selection on Brian Branch this year is that I personally think that going the free-agent route makes much more sense.
We have seen how rookie players in the secondary can often struggle right away if thrust into big roles. Terrell Edmunds isn't the only example of this, as this typically is the trend around the league. Minkah Fitzpatrick really struggled in his first season with the Dolphins, and though it was a different time, Troy Polamalu really only played special teams as a rookie.
While Branch isn't guaranteed to struggle from the gate, adding a free agent would give them a dependable option they could count on right away. More importantly, it would allow them to save their valuable first-round draft capital for a player at a premium position.
Safeties sitting in free agency like Taylor Rapp, Ronnie Harrison, or Keanu Neal sitting in free agency would help fill the void left by Edmunds. If they are looking for a more versatile player in the mold of Branch who could also cover the slot, they have that to an extent in Damontae Kazee. However, they could also sign a slot CB or take one later in the draft if this is what they want.