Has Tyvon Branch become a premier strong safety? A case can be made that Branch has definentely joined the elites.
He seems to be all over the field just like Troy Palamalu and Bob Sanders. I know it's hard to believe the Raiders have such a player because of their record, but it's true.
Palamalu in his best year had 96 tackles, one sack, 10 passes defensed, one forced fumble, and five interceptons. Bob Sanders in his best year had 96 tackles, three sacks, six passed defensed, and two interceptions.
Branch is coming off of only his first year as a starter. He had 124 tackles, one sack, 8 passes defensed, and two forced fumbles.
One can argue that Branch had so many tackles because of how bad the front seven were against the run. However, he did make the most of those opportunities.
Why didn't Branch have any interceptions?
Tell me why Bob Sanders didn't have any forced fumbles in his best year.
Another thing that can be said is that Branch is a shutdown strong safety. He does to tight ends what teammate Nnamdi Asomugha does to wide outs.
With a winning team, Branch will be much more heavily considered for future Pro Bowls. He got one vote toward being an All-Pro as it is.
You can call 2009 a breakout year but I think a Pro Bowl is a breakout season for a talent such as Branch. A few interceptions would make it undeniable for him.
How about another season like 2009?
Some more wins for his team along with it would all but cement it.