If you felt underwhelmed by last year’s safety class, you’ll feel redeemed by the 2022 class. The 2022 NFL Draft has a wide variety of safeties, all of different molds and styles. In this group, the scouting report of Penn State S Jaquan Brisker carries some weight. Brisker’s path to prominence has been somewhat unconventional, but it’s all led him to the doorstep of the 2022 NFL Draft, where he’s almost certain to be an early-round pick.
Jaquan Brisker NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Safety
- School: Penn State
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’1 3/8″
- Weight: 206 pounds
- Wingspan: 76″
- Length: 32 1/8″
- Hand: 9 7/8″
Brisker’s Combine/pro day results
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.45
- Bench Press: 22
- Broad Jump: 10′ 4″
- Vertical Jump: 38.5″
- Three-Cone: 6.91
- Short Shuttle: 4.19
Jaquan Brisker Scouting Report
Safety is a relatively thankless position. There’s an element of particular precariousness on the back end. It can be very easy to make a little mistake that ends up costing the defense six points. The fragile nature of the safety’s responsibility forces out replacement-level players. But by the same virtue, it rewards those who are up to the challenge.
In his short time at Penn State, Brisker has proven he’s up to the challenge. The Penn State S developed into one of the top playmakers in the Big Ten this past season. Now, he’s widely regarded as a potential early-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. In a strong safety class, what makes Brisker worth the hype and the consideration? Here’s a look at his profile, and what he has to offer.
Brisker’s athletic profile
There’s no shortage of athletes in the 2022 NFL Draft’s safety group. However, Brisker might be one of the best of the bunch. He’s not quite at the level of a Kyle Hamilton or a Daxton Hill, but he still brings quite a bit to the table.
At 6’1″, 206 pounds, Brisker has a long, compact frame. And within that frame, he has many of the desired athletic traits. Brisker is a twitchy athlete who can change directions quickly. He’s an exceptionally smooth mover with loose hips and light feet. Additionally, he’s a great lateral athlete. The Penn State product sinks his hips into direction changes and diverts course with little delay. Brisker has shown he can flip his hips while backpedaling as well.
If that’s not enough, Brisker has great long speed and range for his size. He covers ground quickly with energetic strides. He chases down plays in pursuit, even from angles that aren’t ideal. It also helps that Brisker accelerates very quickly. He possesses a torrid initial burst, and when he keys in on plays, he explodes toward the ball.
Putting his athletic traits together, Brisker is a versatile defender. He can line up in single-high, two-high, or in the slot. His combination of size, burst, and fluidity allows him to match up with almost anyone. The Penn State safety can match smaller receivers, as well as blanket tight ends up the seam.
Execution beyond the physical traits
Brisker’s physical traits pop off the screen, but his polish beyond that foundation is what generates true excitement for his NFL projection.
In coverage, Brisker’s adept mental traits are on display most often. The Penn State S has good awareness. He’s able to read the field and pass off receivers in zone. Beyond that, Brisker follows the quarterback’s eyes, but he’s also aware of the space around him. He doesn’t often get tunnel vision. Especially in the box, where things move quicker, this makes him appealing.
Going further, Brisker can identify rollouts and swing out to the side. He can magnetize to wheel and seam routes, mirroring receivers. He’s able to flip his hips and launch into those lanes, then quickly transition from pursuit to coverage. Brisker’s not as consistent in the deep third, but he has shown to recognize routes and align his hips accordingly.
Closer to the line, Brisker also shows promise. He is combative against blocks in run defense and has shown he can proactively use his length to disengage. The Nittany Lions star is willing to fill in run defense and sift through congestion to make stops. Once he has a clear lane to the runner, he brings an intense closing burst at the tackle point. He’s shown he can wrap up as well.
Among other things, Brisker is an urgent, high-energy player who’s always active wherever he plays. He’s willing to use his physicality in press coverage to disrupt route progressions. Brisker also has visible vertical athleticism and ball skills — deriving from his days as a high school wide receiver. Brisker tracks the ball in the air and converts on momentum-changing plays.
Areas for improvement
Overall, Brisker is a well-rounded 2022 NFL Draft prospect. He’s a great athlete with good processing ability and play pace. You can only poke so many holes in those kinds of profiles. Nevertheless, the Penn State safety can still strive for greater operational consistency.
Most notably, Brisker could react faster as he sometimes gets caught watching. He could also be more consistent anticipating separation downfield. Safeties have to be preemptive at times when timing their hip transitions. Furthermore, Brisker sometimes creates too big a cushion between himself and routes. He bites on quick moves at the stem and falls a step behind. Thus, he could be more consistent in maintaining close spacing on the back end.
Moving forward, Brisker sometimes gets baited away from plays by misdirections. While he generally keys in on the ball well, he can be more consistent there. In a similar vein, the Nittany Lions S sometimes overshoots tackling angles coming downhill. He can also be a bit late to disengage in run defense. And while he’s solid as a tackler, he needs to be more consistent.
Finally, while Brisker is an excellent athlete, there are times where he can be slightly more efficient as a mover. His weight transfers can be smoother at times. He gets flat-footed on occasion when changing directions. Moreover, Brisker can widen his stride lengths in the open field to cover more ground.
His 2022 NFL Draft scouting report overview
You’ve heard this cliché a billion times: “He checks a lot of the boxes.” I am a culprit of using it too often — but I can’t help but apply it to Brisker. He’s a well-rounded safety prospect.
Set to be 23 years old at the start of his rookie season, there may be added pressure on the Penn State S to contribute right away. But Brisker is certainly a player who can hit the ground running.
Athletically, the Penn State product is long, explosive, fluid, and twitchy. Mentally, he’s sharp, energetic, and fairly adaptable. He has dual-sided appeal in coverage and run support. Additionally, he’s versatile enough to line up in a variety of spots. His playmaking ability at the catch point is just a cherry on top.
Brisker, like most players, can attain more consistency from an operational standpoint. In particular, his deep instincts aren’t as consistent, and he may be best as a strong safety in a scheme with frequent two-high looks. Nevertheless, he’s good enough in each area to command early-round appeal in the 2022 NFL Draft. His athletic testing confirmed that he’s a worthy talent with starting upside at the NFL level.
I wouldn’t take Brisker in Round 1 if one of Hamilton, Hill, or Lewis Cine is still on the board. But he’s comfortably my fourth-ranked safety and a great add in Round 2.
Brisker’s Player Profile
It’s been a long road for Brisker — one that didn’t always appear to have so much light on the horizon. It’s been defined — both for better and for worse — by the loss of his older brother Tale’.
Like any little brother/older brother combination, Brisker was attached to Tale’ at the hip when he was younger. Both had the same passion for football — almost too much at times. It got so bad that their mother instituted a “no balls in the house” policy to prevent them from breaking things. But that didn’t stop them from creating makeshift footballs out of socks and footies.
Jaquan grew up under Tale’ and learned the game from him. But when Tale’ was 19 and Jaquan was 15, Tale’ was shot and killed in Texas. A massive void festered and grew, and Jaquan stopped going to school and nearly slipped onto a dark path. But something his brother had told him before he died kept tugging Jaquan back. “If anybody in the family makes it, it’ll be you.”
While his brother passed on, that unfettered belief never did. And that’s what drove Jaquan to keep pursuing his dream of playing football. While academics prevented him from attracting Division I offers, Brisker got his chance at Lackawanna Community College.
At LCC, Brisker was a standout player for two years. He earned Northeast Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2018 and found his way back on the DI radar. Named one of the top JUCO prospects in the 2019 class, Brisker signed with Penn State. And just like that, the dream was alive again.
Brisker’s career at Penn State and NFL Draft ascension
With the Nittany Lions, Brisker has all but delivered on the shared promise he and Tale’ made to each other as brothers. He’s become not only one of the best players in college football but one of the best prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.
In three years at Penn State, Brisker has amassed 143 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 5 interceptions, 14 pass deflections, and a fumble recovery. 2021, meanwhile, was Brisker’s most productive year to date. The senior captain accumulated 63 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 2 picks, and 5 pass deflections in 12 games played.
In a loaded Penn State draft class that includes Jahan Dotson, Brandon Smith, Arnold Ebiketie, PJ Mustipher, and others, one could argue that Brisker is the highest-rated player. His draft stock has skyrocketed this season. And after a strong offseason, there’s a chance Brisker could hear his name called on Day 1.
It would be a gratifying moment for many — Brisker’s mother, his teammates, and his coaches — but for none more than Brisker himself, who’s carrying the desire of himself and his brother to officially make it to the NFL stage. That kind of desire — just like Brisker flying through a gap or leaping for an interception — is hard to stop.
Tony Pauline’s scouting report on Jaquan Brisker
Positives: Athletic safety with good size and a complete game. Resilient, tough, and works hard to get off blocks and make plays against the run. Plays heads-up football, quickly picks up coverage assignments, and has an explosive burst to the ball. Tracks the pass in the air, effectively works with cornerbacks to bracket receivers, and possesses excellent ball skills.
Stays downfield with opponents in coverage, gets his head back around, and locates the ball in the air. Fires upfield, works to get off blocks, and sells out on the blitz.
Negatives: Shows some hesitation in his game. Lacks elite speed and a second gear.
Analysis: Brisker is a terrific all-around safety who does not have mental lapses on the field. He aggressively defends the run while holding his own in coverage, and he offers starting potential at the next level for a variety of defensive schemes.