From my experience regarding the discrepancy in sack totals, it's because cfbstats.com – which I usually use for looking up statistics because it's typically reliable and very easy to use – has him listed with 9.5 sacks for last season, even though he was officially credited with 10.5 sacks according to Ohio State. You might see discrepancies in K.J. Hill's numbers for that same reason, too, because CFBStats credited him with two less catches last season than Ohio State did (and the first couple times I wrote about him this offseason, I didn't realize that).
Not sure why he didn't play in the Redskins' first preseason game, but it sounds like he was held out for precautionary reasons tonight due to a tailbone injury.
Gruden said Tim Settle hurt his knee but said he thought hed be OK. McLaurin kept out after falling hard on tailbone in practice. Holcomb has a sore AC joint.— John Keim (@john_keim) August 16, 2019
Thayer did say that he viewed Branden as "one of the starters" – but I'm not sure how much I'd read into that. Day and Studrawa have been talking like they view Munford, Bowen, Petit-Frere and Alabi all as starting-caliber players, and they're the ones who will ultimately make the decision on who starts. Bowen and Petit-Frere have been splitting reps equally at right tackle, and Day said Saturday that the battle between them is "probably neck-and-neck." So I don't think that decision has been made quite yet, but I think there has been and still is a real competition there.
He is a graduate transfer with two remaining years of eligibility. All transfers, whether graduate or undergraduate, go through the transfer portal now – the only real difference between them is graduate transfers being eligible to play immediately without a waiver.