If draft evaluation is a measure of what a prospect can be at his maximum potential, then there aren’t many cornerbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft who have as compelling a scouting report as Kansas State CB Julius Brents. Here’s more on why Brents is one of the biggest upside plays in the 2023 class.
Julius Brents NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Kansas State
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height/Weight: 6’3″, 202 pounds
- Length: 33 3/4″
- Wingspan: 82 7/8″
- Hand: 9 1/2″
Brents will be a 23-year-old rookie and will turn 24 in January of 2024. For some teams, that age may be a factor that weighs against him. But every part of Brents’ journey has led him to where he is now — situated as one of the best CB prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The upside was always there, and the Iowa Hawkeyes were the first to notice, signing him as a three-star recruit in the 2018 class. At the time, Brents was a 6’2″ defender from Indianapolis. A productive playmaker with a track background, he also had a 39.3″ vertical jump to his name. From Day 1, that size and explosiveness was the foundation of his upside.
For Brents, however, it took a few years to truly climb the ladder — as well as a change of scenery. He started five games as a true freshman, earning a pick and three deflections before an injury sidelined him for most of 2019 and forced him to redshirt. After struggling to pick up momentum again in 2020, he transferred to Kansas State.
The returns at Kansas State were almost immediate for Brents. He earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors in his first year there, then racked up four interceptions and four deflections in a 2022 campaign that earned him first-team all-conference recognition from the coaches.
After excelling against projected first-round pick Quentin Johnston in the Big 12 Championship Game, Brents accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl, where he again flourished against premier competition — and officially announced himself on the national stage.
Julius Brents Scouting Report
- Legitimate albatross at cornerback with outrageous length and disruption radius.
- Surprisingly elastic athlete at his size, who plays low in his stance and can swivel freely.
- Flashes very quick response to stimulus reacting to breaks and can snap out of phase.
- Has shown he can follow the QB’s eyes in zone and peel off routes while keeping phase.
- Shows glimpses of high-level corrective twitch and reactive athleticism for his size.
- Able to maintain discipline and balance using feet first, then disrupt with his length.
- Urgent, high-energy mover on his backpedal who can suddenly clamp down on stems.
- Has the length and long-strider speed to blanket zones in side-saddle coverage.
- Has displayed the versatility to play press-man, off-man, zone, and roam into the slot.
- Chippy two-phase competitor who rockets downhill with relentless energy in support.
Areas for Improvement
- Frame is relatively light and lean and can be outmuscled in contact situations.
- At times, experiences a delay before unhinging and channeling burst out of transitions.
- Frequently tugs at receivers to compensate for non-elite fluidity and play strength.
- Has a slight false step off the line when matching and can be more controlled with feet.
- Can be more synergetic, patient, and precise with hands when jamming at the line.
- Processing speed can be quicker on misdirections at times, as delays can be costly.
- Can be late to discern intent and pass trajectory in zone coverage.
- Ball tracking can be an issue downfield, both in terms of timing and identification.
- Lacking play strength can impede his ability to get off blocks in support.
Kansas State CB Julius Brents Current Draft Projection
Brents grades out as a top 75 prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft on my board, and a potential top 10 CB prospect in a loaded positional class. A standout Senior Bowl showing will help Brents down the line, but all of the traits on display in Mobile were also prominent on his 2022 tape.
At 6’3″, 202 pounds, with arms nearly 34″ long, Brents has truly elite size and range as a disruptor at the CB position. This length, along with his spry short-area athleticism and energy as a mover, enables him to dictate reps with proactive physicality at the line. He’s a twitchy athlete for his size with passable fluidity, and he also has the long-strider burst and speed to drape over windows downfield.
Just as exciting as his physical profile is Brents’ mental acuity. He’s far from a finished product operationally. There are technical inefficiencies still to correct, and his ball tracking and technique in contested coverage are notable concerns. But Brents displays the proper awareness and reaction quickness to hold his own in both man and zone, and he’s a very chippy competitor. When he wins a rep, he lets his man know it.
Early on, while Brents is still improving his hand timing and footwork, he might be best in zone alignments. However, Brents truly has the all-encompassing profile to be a stalwart in press-man and zone, where he can use his length and athleticism in different ways. On Day 2, he’s very much a worthy investment, with impact starter potential and scheme versatility.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Julius Brents
Strengths: Long, explosive athlete who is still developing his game. Flips his hips in transition, plays aggressive football, and battles opponents throughout the route. Works to get his head back around to track the pass and positions himself against receivers downfield to break up the throw. Displays good route recognition in zone and is effective when facing the action. Makes a lot of athletic plays on the field. Defends the run and willingly gets involved.
Weaknesses: Slow reacting to receivers’ moves off the line, which puts him a half-step behind opponents. Needs a lot of work on his fundamentals. Tends to spy on the quarterback, which results in receptions for opponents. Inefficient.
Overall: Brents possesses the size, athleticism, and ability teams want in a starting cornerback on Sundays, but he needs to polish every aspect of his game. He can play in man or zone when hitting on all cylinders, yet there’s a lot of inconsistency in Brents’ game. I suspect there will be bumps in the road before he’s NFL-ready.
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