Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Patriots make Branch official and sign pair of CBs

The New England Patriots announced a defensive-bolstering trio of signings Wednesday.

Upon making an official announcement on defensive lineman Alan Branch, the team also inked free agent cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain, formerly of the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons, respectively.

The 6-6, 325-pound Branch (30) played in eight regular season games with two starts for New England lat year, tallying 14 tackles, two quarterback hits and one pass defensed. He then played in all three postseason games, including the Super Bowl, and recorded seven tackles. The eight-year veteran has spent time with the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills.

Fletcher, 28, is a veteran of six NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams and the Eagles. In that span, the 6-0, 200-pounder, played in 71 NFL games with 54 starts and recorded 306 total tackles, one sack, eight interceptions with one returned for a touchdown, 64 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 11 special teams tackles. He has played in one postseason game in 2013 with Philadelphia and added seven total tackles and one interception.

Last season with the Eagles, Fletcher started in all 15 games that he played and tallied 66 total tackles, a 34-yard interception for a touchdown and 26 passes defensed.

The 26-year-old McClain, a veteran of four NFL seasons, has had stints with the Carolina Panthers, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons. Standing at 5-9, 195 pounds, the defensive back has played in 63 NFL games with 17 starts and has tallied 202 total tackles, three interceptions, 21 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He's played in two postseason games with Atlanta. Last season with the Falcons, he played in 16 games with six starts and finished with 60 total tackles, one sack, two interceptions and five passes defensed.

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