2017 NFL Draft

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Branden Albert

Height: 6-6 | Weight: 309 | College: Virginia
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A former standout basketball player, Branden Albert did not wear a football uniform until his junior year in high school. Just a few years later, he left Virginia after starting all 37 games in which he played for the Cavaliers.

With a blend of athletic ability, size and strength at the point of attack, he quickly developed into one of the elite offensive guards in college football.

Albert first starred in basketball at Glen Burnie High School. He averaged 15.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game as a senior, earning second-team All-Metro honors from the Baltimore Sun. He scored nine points for the Baltimore All-Stars at the Marines Charm City Challenge.

As a junior, the football staff convinced him to give football a try. He went on to start as a two-way tackle, picking up first-team All-Metro accolades as an offensive lineman by the Baltimore Sun as a senior, as he also delivered 65 tackles on defense. He also earned first-team All-Anne Arundel County honors by the Baltimore Sun in 2003 and was rated the 38th-best offensive lineman in the country by Scout.com.

Albert enrolled at Hargrave Military Academy to improve his academic standing in 2004. The offensive tackle received a four-star rating from Rivals.com, a service that ranked him 12th among the top 25 prep school players in the nation.

Upon his arrival at Virginia in 2005, Albert was inserted into the starting lineup at left offensive guard. He received Freshman All-American third-team and Freshman All-Atlantic Coast Conference first team recognition from The Sporting News. In just his third college game, he garnered ACC Lineman of the Week honors for his performance vs. Duke. When he answered the opening gun for the Music City Bowl vs. Minnesota, he became the fourth true freshman offensive lineman in school history to start a bowl contest.

Virginia had many offensive struggles in 2006 (ranked 113th in the nation with an average of 257.2 yards per game) and the collective play of the offensive line (ranked 104th in the nation in sacks allowed; 35), but Albert was named All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention. He was an ACC Lineman of the Week pick for his performance vs. North Carolina State and recorded 40 knockdown blocks while allowing just one sack to finish with an 82.9% grade for blocking consistency.

As a junior, Albert earned All-American third-team and All-ACC first-team accolades. He started 11 games at left offensive guard and lined up at left tackle vs. Pittsburgh and Middle Tennessee. He twice earned Lineman of the Week honors (vs. North Carolina and Wake Forest), registering 54 knockdowns with 12 touchdown-resulting blocks, but did give up 5.5 of the team's 33 sacks allowed.

After the Gator Bowl, Albert announced that he would bypass his senior year to enter the 2008 NFL Draft. He did not submit his paperwork to the NFL advisory committee that predicts where underclassmen might be drafted if they leave school early. "I would rather go off Coach Al Groh than anybody, because he's a great resource," Albert said. "I feel like he cares about me, that he would tell me what I need to know, not what I want to hear. He won't tell me his own selfish reasons to either stay or go."


Positives: Has a solid upper body with long arms, large hands, good chest thickness, flat back, broad shoulders and a strong hand punch, but could use more lower-body development … Has great work habits and is a coachable talent who takes pride in doing the extras necessary to improve … Struggled in the classroom, but has been a good student of the game, taking plays from the chalkboard to the playing field with minimal reps … Has experience at both offensive tackle and on the defensive line to fill in capably there in an emergency, but his trap-blocking skills are more suited to play guard at the next level, despite his tall frame … Has good foot quickness and body positioning to block along the line, but will lose his base and narrow his stance when reaching the second level … Will use his upper-body strength instead of staying sound technique-wise at times, but he does extend his arms with power (needs more consistency doing so, but has improved) … Strength and explosiveness are evident in his hand punch and hip roll … Shows good consistency using his hands to get proper placement and likes to grab on and jerk the defender to the ground … Has that powerful hand jolt to rock the bull rusher back and gets good movement coming off the snap when he keeps his pads down … Can maintain position when he uses his hands to lock on a ride the opponent wide, as he makes proper hand adjustments to sustain blocks … Can gain advantage at the snap with his sudden short burst and flashes good knee bend (feet sometimes get quicker than his body) … Shows very good sudden force coming out of his stance and while he lacks ideal change-of-direction skills, he can lock on and steer … Has good movement skills blocking in space, but will lose balance when he gets too tall in his stance … Effective trap blocker who generates movement coming off the ball and has a strong inside anchor setting up in pass protection to consistently get extension and separation due to proper hand usage … His strength is evident on run blocks and he is quick to get position and wall off … Shows good urgency coming out of his stance when trying to turn and seal the opponent in in-line blocking situations for the ground game … Can turn up and seal inside with good power on initial contact to finish, doing a nice job of kicking out and sealing with effectiveness … Shows impressive knee bend for a player of his stature (most tall blockers struggle to drop their pads and will revert to waist bending) … Can generate good explosion off the ball to ride the defenders out … Has the anchor to slide and mirror, but his adequate change-of-direction causes him to lose position when trying to get back and neutralize edge rushers … Shows good hip-sinking ability when dropping back in pass protection, as he does a good job in standing flat-footed with a solid lower base to effectively neutralize the surge in pass protection … Uses his large, powerful hands well to lock on and ride the defender away from the play, and keeps his head on a swivel, always looking to get a piece of another defender after making the initial block.

Negatives: Looks a little awkward with his feet when trying to adjust to linebackers blocking upfield … Tends to get tall in his stance on the move and must show better angle concept when stalking … Lacks classic knee bend and the hip snap to make downfield adjustments … Has adequate change-of-direction skills and keeps his feet too narrow on the move … Needs to maintain balance on the move, as he tends to overextend in order to stay with his man, resulting in the defender's hand slaps knocking him off stride (bit top-heavy) … Will duck his head before making initial contact … Has good hand placement, but needs to be a bit more deceptive trying to grab and latch on to a defender's jersey, as he is prone to getting costly holding penalties … Has experience playing on the edge at left tackle, but is more suited to play in-line at guard, and sometimes has problems containing quicker pass rushers off the edge and does tire late in games (needs to improve his overall stamina, but showed better playing tempo as a junior, dropping his weight from 340 to 315 pounds) … Will sometimes lunge at defenders rather than wait for the action to come to him … Struggles to maintain body control coming off the snap, as his feet tend to get ahead of him, allowing defenders to slip past and pressure the pocket … When he gets too tall in his pads, he loses his adequate lateral range and looks sluggish in attempts to change direction … Has a strong hand punch, but needs to use it with more consistency … Could do a better job playing with true aggression and too often tries to finesse rather than maul.

Compares To: MAURICE WILLIAMS-Jacksonville-Built more like an offensive tackle, Albert is surprisingly effective sinking his weight and firing off the snap. He lacks the change-of\-direction agility to be isolated on the outside as a tackle, but does show good straight-line movement skills to widen and sustain rush lanes. He works well with his center on combo blocks and has a strong punch to shock and jolt. He has worked hard to improve his conditioning, going from 340 to 315 pounds over the last two years, but he needs to improve his stamina. He tired late in games, getting into trouble with penalties or overextending. With a very weak offensive guard crop, he could sneak to the top of this position with solid postseason workouts.

Career Notes

During his final two seasons, Albert registered 94 knockdowns, coming up with key blocks on 21 touchdown drives … Graded 83.23% for blocking consistency over his last 25 games, as he allowed 6.5 quarterback sacks, but no pressures on 773 pass plays.

2007 Season

All-American third-team selection by The NFL Draft Report and Associated Press … All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team choice … Added All-State first-team honors from the Virginia Sports Information Directors Association and the Roanoke Times … Started all 13 games, lining up at left guard in eleven contests and at left tackle for an injured Eugene Monroe vs. Pittsburgh and Middle Tennessee State … Graded 83.54% for blocking consistency, as he posted 54 knockdowns and had key blocks on 12 touchdown-resulting drives while serving as offensive team captain … Was penalized twice and allowed 5.5 sacks on 428 pass plays … Earned team Offensive Player of the Week honors vs. Wake Forest and North Carolina.

2007 Game Analysis

Duke … Albert graded 92% for blocking consistency, as the offense generated 324 yards in a 24-13 win … He made a key block along the left corner that leveled defensive end Patrick Bailey to spring tailback Cedric Peerman for a 58-yard scoring scamper midway through the first quarter … Head to Head Competition-DT#3-Vince Oghobaase (6:06-310)-No tackles.

North Carolina … The left guard delivered six knockdowns while grading 90% to earn team Player of the Week honors … The offense totaled 350 yards and Albert cleared a huge hole used by Cedric Peerman on second-&-goal for a 1-yard touchdown run up the middle to end a 12-play, 68-yard game-opening drive for the Cavaliers … Head to Head Competition-DT#90-Kentwan Balmer (6:05-299)-Four tackles (2 solos).

Pittsburgh … Albert shifted to left tackle and despite his unfamiliarity playing that spot for the Cavaliers, he delivered a pair of touchdown-resulting blocks, including one on the team's first series, as he stopped middle linebacker Scott McKillop from getting to Jameel Sewell, as the QB lobbed a 2-yard scoring pass to Jonathan Stupar … Later in the opening frame, he took down defensive end Chris McKillop as Cedric Peerman turned the left corner for a 1-yard touchdown run … Head to Head Competition-DE#41-Chris McKillop (6:03-265)-Six solo tackles.

Middle Tennessee … In his second game at left tackle, Albert graded 89% as the team totaled 374 yards … He upended defensive end Chris McCoy to lead the charge on Cedric Peerman's second-&-goal 5-yard scoring burst that capped an 85-yard, 15-play fourth quarter drive … Head to Head Competition-DE#98-Chris McCoy (6:04-263)-Two assisted tackles.

Maryland … Albert registered a season-high eight knockdowns and graded 98% from his usual left guard position, helping the Cavaliers amass 439 yards in an 18-17 decision … Defensive tackle Dre Moore was flatted by the Virginisa lineman to spring tailback Mikell Simpson for a 44-yard touchdown jaunt in the second quarter … With 0:16 left in the game, Albert widened a rush lane used by Simpson for a game-winning 1-yard scoring run … Head to Head Competition-DT#68-Carlos Feliciano (6:04-309)-One assisted tackle.

North Carolina State … Albert missed a block and defensive end Alan Michael-Cash took advantage to slip into the backfield and sack QB Jameel Sewell for a 1-yard loss with 7:37 left in the game … With 1:24 remaining on the game clock, Albert recovered a fumble by Peter Lalich after the backup QB lost the ball on a 9-yard sack at the Cavalier 23 … Head to Head Competition-DT#49-Alan Michael-Cash (6:01-286)-Eight tackles (4 solos), a 1-yard sack, 1.5 stops for losses of 2 yards.

Wake Forest … Albert was named team Offensive Player of the Week after registering five knockdowns to grade 89% in a 17-16 triumph … He opened a hole used by QB Jameel Sewell to gain 11 yards on the ground and two plays later, the left guard was followed by tailback Mikell Simpson into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown that ended a 56-yard, 10-play fourth quarter series … Head to Head Competition-DT#51-John Russell (6:03-278)-Three tackles (2 assists).

Miami … The Cavalier offensive lineman received a 91% grade, as he collected a pair of touchdown-resulting blocks to help Virginia total 418 yards … He was charged with a holding penalty early in the fourth quarter, but he also made a bone-jarring block that seemed to push the entire Hurricanes interior line into the end zone on a 1-yard scoring burst by Mikell Simpson at the start of the second half … Head to Head Competition-DT#54-Teraz McCray (6:01-286)-No tackles.

Virginia Tech … It was one of Albert's longest days in his three-year career in a 33-21 loss, as his main coverage assignment, defensive tackle Barry Booker made five stops behind the line of scrimmage, including a sack of Jameel Sewell on a third-&-10 snap for a 10-yard loss, forcing the Cavaliers to punt late in the second quarter … He was also flagged for a false start at the Tech 22 with 5:37 left in the third quarter … Head to Head Competition-DT#59-Barry Booker (6:04-292)-Seven tackles (4 solos), 1.5 sacks for minus 16 yards, 4.5 stops for losses of 20 yards.

Texas Tech (Gator Bowl) … Albert was having a solid performance in his final game for Virginia, as he even got to carry the ball on a trick play late in the second quarter that resulted in a 2-yard gain to the Tech 14 … He also leveled linebacker Brian Duncan to give QB Peter Lalich time to flip an 11-yard touchdown pass to Mikell Simpson at the start of the fourth frame … However, with 3:31 left in the game, his coverage assignment, defensive tackle Rajon Henley chased down Lalich and sacked the QB at the Virginia 4 for an 11-yard loss, as the ball popped out and was recovered by Tech's Colby Whitlock, setting up the Red Raiders' game-winning 4-yard touchdown run with 3:10 remaining, giving Tech a 31-28 decision … "We were setting up for a screen and I let my man go too early," Albert said.

"Of course, that's going to be on my mind for a while. I kind of feel I lost the game for us. I cracked." That kind of accountability is one of the reasons that his teammates elected Albert as one of the co-captains as a junior. "I feel, towards the end, that I got a lot more attention as a player, but I understand that comes with winning," he said. "I have no complaints with the University of Virginia. I got everything out of my career that I could have wanted." … Head to Head Competition-DT#91-Rajon Henley (6:03-267)-Seven tackles (3 solos), a 13-yard sack, one forced fumble.

2006 Season

All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention … First-team All-State selection by the Virginia Sports Information Directors Association and the Roanoke Times … Named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week vs. North Carolina State … Started all 12 games at left offensive guard … Was one of the few bright spots on a unit that ranked 113th in the nation in total offense (257.2 yards per game), 100th in rushing (99.9 yards per game), 102nd in passing (157.2 yards per game) and 104th in sacks allowed (33 for minus-22 yards) … Albert led the team with an 82.92% grade for blocking consistency, coming up with 40 knockdowns, including nine touchdown-resulting blocks … Was penalized three times, but allowed just one sack on 345 pass plays.

2006 Game Analysis

Pittsburgh … Albert opened the season in explosive fashion, taking down linebacker Clint Session and defensive tackle Gus Mustakas to spring tailback Jason Snelling for a 2-yard touchdown run with 0:57 left in the first half … Head to Head Competition-DT#93-Gus Mustakas (6:03-265)-Two tackles, 0.5 stop for a 1-yard loss.

Duke … The left guard graded 88% in a 37-0 victory, but the offense managed only 253 yards … Late in the first quarter, he cleared a path used by Jason Snelling on first-&-goal for a 1-yard touchdown run … Head to Head Competition-DT#3-Vince Oghobaase (6:06-310)-Four tackles (3 assists), one stop for a 3-yard loss.

East Carolina … A missed block saw defensive tackle Mark Robinson sack QB Jameel Sewell for a 6-yard loss on a third-&-4 snap, forcing a Virginia punt with 2:42 left in the first half … Albert had earlier leveled rush end C.J. Wilson to give Emmanuel Byers a chance to fire a 22-yard option pass to Deyon Williams for a score … Head to Head Competition-DT#96-Mark Robinson (Three tackles (2 solos), a 6-yard sack.

Maryland … Graded 90% and posted four knockdowns, including one that took down line-backer Erin Henderson on a 36-yard scoring scamper by QB Jameel Sewell that ended an 80-yard, 9-play first quarter drive … Head to Head Competition-DT#95-Conrad Bolston (6:03-303)-One solo tackle.

North Carolina … Albert was called for holding a the State 31 four minutes into the second half, but two plays later, he blasted through defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer to clear a path used by Jameel Sewell for an 18-yard touchdown run to end a 4-play, 55-yard drive … Head to Head Competition-DT#75-Shelton Bynum (6:05-302)-One solo tackle.

North Carolina State … Albert earned ACC Lineman of the Week honors after grading 91% and posting seven knockdowns in a 14-7 decision … He flattened defensive tackle DeMario Pressley on Jason Snelling's game-winning 17-yard scoring scamper with 1:31 left in the game … Head to Head Competition-DT#92-DeMario Pressley (6:04-288)-Two tackles (one solo), one stop for a 4-yard loss.

2005 Season

Freshman All-American third-team and Freshman All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection by The Sporting News … Earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors vs. Duke, his third contest in a Cavaliers uniform … Took over left guard duties as a true freshman, making 34 knockdowns in eleven games.

Injury Report

No injuries reported.

Agility Tests

Campus: 5.41 in the 40-yard dash … 375-pound bench press … 500-pound squat … 33 5/8-inch arm length … 9 1/4-inch hands.


Attended Hargrave (Chatham, Va.) Military Academy in 2004, playing football for head coach Robert Prunty … The offensive tackle received a four-star rating from Rivals.com, a service that ranked him 12th among the top 25 prep school players in the nation.

High School

Attended Glen Burnia (Md.) High School, playing football for head coach Brad Wilson … As a junior, the football staff convinced him to try the gridiron … Went on to start as a two-way tackle, picking up first-team All-Metro accolades as an offensive lineman by the Baltimore Sun as a senior, as he also delivered 65 tackles on defense … Earned first-team All-Anne Arundel County honors by the Baltimore Sun in 2003 and was rated the 38th-best offensive lineman in the country by Scout.com … First starred in basketball at Glen Burnie, as he averaged 15.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game as a senior, earning second-team All-Metro honors from the Baltimore Sun … Scored nine points for the Baltimore All-Stars at the Marines Charm City Challenge.


Sociology major … Brother, Ashley Sims, was a defensive lineman at Maryland in 1996 … Son of Susan Albert … Born Branden B. Albert on 11/04/4 in Rochester, New York.


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