PFF still managed to snub a Detroit Lion on their top players under-25 list

For as much as the Detroit Lions dominated it, one guy was a massive snub from PFF's top players under-25 list.
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Pro Football Focus came out with their top-25 players under the age of 25 this week, and to say the Detroit Lions dominated the list with five players on it is a mild understatement. We can quibble with the exact rankings of Lions' players in spots (Amon-Ra St. Brown over Garrett Wilson? Sam LaPorta at No. 19? Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 21?), but no other team had more than three players on the list.

As a testament to the work general manager Brad Holmes has done in the draft, PFF still snubbed one of the Lions' top young players on that under-25 list.

Brian Branch took over the Lions' primary nickel corner as a rookie last season. He missed two games, but he led the team in pass breakups (13) and was fifth on the team in tackles (74) along with three interceptions and seven tackles for loss.

Earlier this offseason, Pro Football Network acknowledged Branch as one of the top-10 cornerbacks in the league under the age of 25. To be fair to PFF, only three of the cornerbacks on PFN's list made their position-wide list of the top 25 players under 25 years old (Sauce Gardner, Patrick Surtain II and Trent McDuffie).


PFF's own data pretty much says they snubbed Brian Branch on under-25 list

By overall grade, PFF had Branch as the 14th-best cornerback in the league last year (78.9). His run defense grade (83.9) was sixth-best at the position, and his coverage grade (77.7) was top-25. That kind of all-around impact was hard to match.

Three of the four cornerbacks who made the best players under-25 list did have better overall and coverage grades than Branch last year (Gardner, McDuffie and Derek Stingley), and one relatively bad year (69.0 overall grade; 64.7 coverage grade) wasn't enough to bump Surtain off the list.

Branch was probably demerited some based on the fact he was primarily a slot corner as a rookie, and if the list had an honorable mention category he surely would have made that. But it's something when an outlet's own data basically confirms they snubbed someone on a list they made. And based on the pipeline of young talent they have, the Lions are set to keep dominating PFF's "top-25 under 25 list" for a little while.

Next. Re-grading the Detroit Lions 2023 draft one year later. Re-grading the Detroit Lions 2023 draft one year later. dark