Robert Morris DB Trying to Make Steelers

Marcelis Branch was last with Atlanta

Jeff Hathhorn
May 31, 2019 - 8:00 am

Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – Among the players trying for a longshot spot with the Steelers this Spring is a well decorated Robert Morris defensive back.

Back in 2012, Marcelis Branch was the Northeast Conference Defensive Rookie of the Year, became first team all-conference and finished his career with 7 interceptions while playing three years at corner and the final year at safety. 

The 25-year-old Branch was signed by the Steelers in January and is trying to make a name for himself during team OTAs on the South Side.

“I love it here,” Branch said.  “There is a great atmosphere, everybody gets along.  Everybody is friendly.  If you need help, you can find it.  The coaches are teachable coaches, so I’ve been learning a lot since I’ve been here.”

The 5’11” Branch went undrafted in 2017, was given a shot by the Atlanta Falcons and made their practice squad.  Last September, Branch was released by Atlanta during the final cuts before the season.

With few options, Branch has returned to Pittsburgh.

“Do the best with what you got,” Branch said.  “I could have easily said ‘nobody wants me’, but you can only play for one team.  That’s all I need is one team.”

“My conditioning is really good.  My effort to the ball, as far as anything, my effort is the best thing about me.”

Branch describes himself as a dog, he’s intense and going to go get what he wants.  However, he can’t show all of that right now, because the team is practicing in shorts with no hitting.

“It’s kinda hard because I believe the best part of my game is my physicality, but I can also show that I am very well-conditioned,” Branch said.  “I can run around the field all day, I feel like I don’t get tired.  No huffing and puffing, I’m just ready to go every snap.”

Driven by what Branch calls a big chip on his shoulder, the safety originally from Miami, just wants an opportunity.

“I’m a guy who had no offers out of high school really,” Branch said.  “I only had one or two (college) offers.  I love my school, Robert Morris University.  It was the opportunity for me to go to the NFL.  I carry that with me and I always try to represent all of the underdogs as well.”

He’s got company being a Robert Morris guy, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is a Colonials grad.

“We spoke and he was like ‘Bobby Mo’ and every time I see him I’m like ‘Bobby Mo, you already know’.

“I didn’t know until I looked it up and I did my research on everybody really,” Branch said of knowing Colbert was a RMU guy.  “And I was like ‘Robert Morris, is this right?’ and then it was.  It was pretty cool.”

Safety is one of the few need positions where the Steelers did not add in the draft.  Branch is one of six safeties listed on the roster and will battle another local, undrafted player in Aliquippa’s Dravon Askew-Henry for a chance to fulfill that dream.

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