NFL Draft Prospect 2023: Day 4 Winners Include Julius Brents, Deonte Banks

    NFL Draft Prospect 2023: Day 4 Winners Include Julius Brents, Deonte Banks

    Which 2023 NFL Draft prospects raised their stock during Friday’s events and testing drills? Here are some of the winners from the NFL Combine‘s second day of testing, where defensive backs dominated the headlines.

    Friday Winners at the NFL Combine

    Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State

    No analysis needed for this one: Just read the numbers. At 6’3″, 198 pounds, with 34″ arms and a record-breaking wingspan, Julius Brents registered a 41.5″ vertical, an 11’6″ broad jump, a 4.05 short shuttle time, and a 6.63 three-cone. All of those numbers are above 90th percentile. The broad jump is better than 99.8% of all CB figures on record.

    MORE: 2023 NFL Combine Results — 40-Yard Dash, Vertical, 3-Cone, and More

    The only number that slightly weighed down Brents’ overall score was his 40-yard dash, but even with a merely respectable 4.53, he was able to acquire a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 9.82. Brents’ blend of explosiveness, twitch, and agility at his size is absurd, and it’s fuel for a major rise in April.

    Deonte Banks, CB, Maryland

    Deonte Banks measured in a bit smaller than expected, listed at 6’0″, 197 pounds, with arms under 32″ long. But he made up for that slight blip on the radar ten-fold with his athletic testing. As analysts like PFN’s own Tony Pauline predicted in the weeks leading up to the Combine, Banks blew the roof off Lucas Oil Stadium.

    At his size, Banks ran a blistering 4.35 40-yard dash, with a 1.49 10-yard split. His best results, however, came in the explosiveness drills, where Banks earned a 42″ vertical and an 11’4″ broad jump. Both numbers are close to 99th percentile, and his vertical was the best in the CB class. If he wasn’t a surprise first-round candidate before, he is now.

    Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

    Christian Gonzalez doesn’t completely fulfill the requirements to be a winner — because he was already projected to be a potential top-ten pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. But if winning the Combine is what seals it for Gonzalez, then he’s done what he needed to do.

    To start the day, Gonzalez measured in at 6’1 3/8″ and 197 pounds, with 32″ arms. He then went on to accrue the highest RAS among cornerbacks, with a 4.38 40-yard dash, a 41.5″ vertical, and an 11’1″ broad jump. He’s the kind of athlete who makes it all look easy.

    Jakorian Bennett, CB, Maryland

    Banks wasn’t the only Maryland CB to light up the Combine. It was a team effort by him and former JUCO product Jakorian Bennett, who put up some of the best overall figures at the event in Indianapolis, with a 4.3 40-yard dash, a 1.48 10-yard split, a 40.5″ vertical, and an 11’1″ broad jump.

    Bennett is one prospect whose testing athleticism doesn’t always translate on tape, but these numbers imply that it may be more of an issue of channeling athleticism through technique. His recovery speed was one trait on display at the Senior Bowl, and he has all of this as a unique long-striding 5’11” athlete, with arms nearly 32″ long.

    Jartavius Martin, S, Illinois

    They’ll have to start construction to lift the roof at Lucas Oil Stadium after Jartavius Martin’s Combine showing. The versatile Illinois defender led all defensive backs with a jaw-dropping 44″ vertical. That number would have been the best in the entire 2022 NFL Draft class, and there’s a chance it paces the entire 2023 group as well.

    Martin’s epic day didn’t end there, though. The senior DB also ran a 4.46 40-yard dash with a position-best 1.47 10-yard split, and again led all safeties with an 11’1″ broad jump. His profile is quietly very solid. Not only does he have the versatility and the athleticism, but he also proved his playmaking ability with three picks and 11 PBUs in 2022. Day 2 is possible.

    Jason Taylor II, S, Oklahoma State

    All throughout the process, Oklahoma State’s Jason Taylor II has felt like one of the bigger sleepers in a safety class that, as we saw on Friday, sorely lacks top-end talent. He was a phenomenal player in 2022 with 99 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, six interceptions, and seven deflections, and now he has the testing data to back up his film as well.

    At the NFL Combine, Taylor put up wicked numbers. Coming in at 5’11 5/8″ and 204 pounds with 32″ arms, he ran a 4.5 40-yard dash, and also tacked on a 43″ vertical and a 10’9″ broad jump. His vertical is better than 99.9% of recorded figures for safeties, and it’s a number that’ll draw plenty of evaluators back to Taylor’s tape.

    Daniel Scott, S, California

    With over 160 total tackles and six interceptions over the past two seasons, California’s Daniel Scott has quietly been one of the better safeties in college football. His tape is underrated, showing instincts, fluidity, and versatility between two-high and single-high. And now, he has the athletic data to prove his mettle.

    At around 6’1″, 208 pounds, Scott ran a 4.45 40-yard dash, and also scored well in explosiveness drills with a 39.5″ vertical and a 10’8″ broad jump. Additionally, Scott was one of the few safeties to take part in agility testing, and he shined with a 4.17 short-shuttle and an elite time of 6.75 in the three-cone.

    DJ Turner, CB, Michigan

    Chalk this up as another absurd NFL Combine performance that we could see coming. Not only does DJ Turner show off rare short-area and long-track athleticism on tape, but he was also a documented Feldman Freak in the summer with a reported 6.29 three-cone and speed in the 4.2 range.

    Turner didn’t run the three-cone in Indianapolis, so unfortunately, we didn’t get confirmation on that record-breaking number. He did, however, run a 4.26 in the 40-yard dash. His time was the best among CBs, and he also had a positional-best 1.47 10-yard split. Those numbers paint a picture of Turner’s insane burst and recovery speed.

    Cory Trice, CB, Purdue

    The NFL Combine isn’t about discovery. It’s about cross-checking and re-evaluation. Most numbers shouldn’t surprise you. But for those that do, go back to the tape. Purdue’s Cory Trice is one prospect I’ll be going back to the tape for after his NFL Combine showing.

    I was already a fan of Trice, who measured in at 6’3 3/8″ and 206 pounds, with 32 3/8″ arms. But I had questions about his long speed and explosiveness. He then ran a 4.47 40-yard dash, and logged a 35.5″ vertical and a superb 11′ broad jump, which is in the 97th percentile. Those numbers, along with his size and fluidity, bear noting.

    Sydney Brown, S, Illinois

    Much like Taylor, Sydney Brown is a well-built, productive collegiate safety who’s flown under the radar throughout the NFL Draft process. And again much like Taylor, Brown used his Combine showing to surge up boards, and potentially flip the safety class on its head.

    At under 5’10”, Brown is a bit smaller — but he has a rocked-up 211-pound frame. And at that size, he was able to log a 4.47 40-yard dash, a 40.5″ vertical, and a 10’10” broad jump. Brown checks all the boxes on tape. He’s tough, instinctive, physical, versatile, and he has playmaking chops. These athletic numbers are the icing on the cake.

    Honorable Mentions

    • Brandon Hill, S, Pittsburgh
    • Carrington Valentine, CB, Kentucky
    • Terell Smith, CB, Minnesota
    • Darrell Luter Jr., CB, South Alabama
    • Riley Moss, CB, Iowa
    • Kei’Trel Clark, CB, Louisville
    • Chamarri Conner, S, Virginia Tech
    • Anthony Johnson Jr., S, Iowa State
    • Jaylon Jones, CB, Texas A&M
    • Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, CB, TCU

    Ian Cummings is an NFL Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Ian’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @IC_Draft.

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