From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents Today, we’ll be profiling Kansas State CB Julius Brents.
#23 Julius Brents, CB, Kansas State (R-Sr.) — 6030, 202
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Julius Brents||6030/202||9 1/2″||33 3/4||82 7/8|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Elite length and size for a cornerback with 33 3/4″ arms
— Kansas State trusts him to play boundary corner and followed WRs in some matchups
— Alpha-mentality: plays with extreme confidence and lets opponents know about it
— Smart zone player that understands route combinations and has the awareness to find routes entering his zone
— Has the speed to easily carry routes vertically and squeeze them against the boundary
— Uses length in press and catch-man to overwhelm receivers off the line of scrimmage and into their route
— Physical play and zone awareness make him an ideal cover 2 corner
— Not afraid to take on OLs in the open field
— High-level run defender who possesses the hit power to light ball carriers up, but knows when to simply wrap and tackle
— Has length and strength to effectively block shed
— Grabby at the top of routes and when WRs cross his face – could be a flag magnet in NFL
— Struggles to find the ball in the air and then panics: See Big 12 Championship game vs. Quentin Johnston
— High-hipped player, can hurt his explosion and change of direction
— Can lean on receivers at the top of routes, which causes him to lose balance when they break off their route
— Has a history of soft tissue injuries, particularly with the hamstrings
— Will struggle against quick-twitch receivers if he can’t get hands-on
— Aggressive demeanor will leave him vulnerable for double-moves, doesn’t have the makeup speed to recover
— Spent three seasons at Iowa before transferring to Kansas State in 2021
— Played in 46 career games with 32 starts with Iowa and Kansas State (27-straight starts at K-State)
— 111 total tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 6 interceptions, 10 pass deflections, 1 fumble forced in career
— Senior Bowl Invite
— 2022 All-Big 12 First Team (Coaches) – Honorable Mention in 2021
— 2022 Second Team Academic All-Big 12 in 2
— Nickname “JuJu”
— Knee injury caused him to sit out most of 2019 with Iowa
— Was named to the 2020 Leadership Group at Iowa
— Initially chose Iowa over the likes of Ohio State, Michigan State, Cincinnati
— Communications Major
— Rated a 3-star prospect by 247 coming out of Warren Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana
Julius Brents is a standout redshirt senior cornerback who boasts a towering 6030 202-pound frame. With his exceptional length, Brents has established himself as a dominant force on the field, displaying the aggressive style and physicality that are hallmark traits of a top-notch cornerback.
After transferring from Iowa to Kansas State following the 2020 season, Brents seamlessly adapted to their zone-heavy system and made an immediate impact. Over the course of his time in Manhattan, he amassed an impressive 27 consecutive starts, showcasing his consistency and play-making ability along the way to a First-Team All Big-12 honors in 2022.
Kansas State relied on Brents as a boundary corner, entrusting him with the task of neutralizing their opponents’ top wide receivers. He possesses sharp route recognition abilities, and his quick feet, which are exceptional for his size, allow him to stay closely aligned with receivers. He won’t shy away from letting them know about it after the play either.
While Brents may display some tendency to play too high at times, his click-and-close ability shines through on tape. It’s impressive to see a 6’3″ cornerback play this fluidly.
Brents possesses impressive length and has a knack for utilizing it well on the field. However, as he steps up to the NFL, he will need to refine his understanding of when to use it effectively.
Currently, Brents has a tendency to reach out and make contact with receivers too often at the top of their routes, which may lead to penalties in the NFL. The rules surrounding illegal contact and holding are much stricter at the next level, and it’s important for Brents to develop a more measured approach and choose when to utilize his length and physicality more wisely.
He also has the speed necessary to carry routes vertically and not get stacked. On most reps, you’ll see him fight through hand fighting and squeeze routes to the sideline, letting the ball harmlessly fall to the turf.
Brents has faced challenges in coverage, particularly in tracking deep throws. This was evident in the Big 12 Conference Championship where TCU and Quentin Johnston put him to the test. On multiple occasions, Brents struggled to locate the ball and panicked, leading to early grabbing of the receiver.
Brents needs a more relaxed and patient approach when defending against deep passes. He can achieve this by taking his time to locate the ball and, in situations where he fails to turn his head in time, working on raking through the receiver’s hands late in the rep.
As previously noted, Julius Brents adjusted smoothly to the zone scheme employed by Kansas State. He demonstrated a good understanding of route combinations and exhibited the necessary awareness to effectively pass off routes and identify new ones entering his zone.
The following are two examples of Brents locating deep crossers in his zone. In the first clip, he came close to making an interception but was unable to secure the ball after he bounced off the ground. In the second example, despite being in good position, Brents’ struggles with locating the ball, resulting in a touchdown for Alabama.
Brents’ imposing physicality makes him well-suited for cover-2 schemes. He packs a punch when attacking downhill and receivers are aware when they are entering Brents’ zone.
Brents’ physicality doesn’t just show up in coverage, it also translates to his run defense. He is a top-notch run defender who consistently delivers when called upon to make tackles in one-on-one situations. In fact, it could be argued that he is the best in his class in this regard.
Brents fearlessly throws himself into the action, not shying away from physical confrontations, even when going up against offensive linemen. He had some impressive reps in the Sugar Bowl, actively engaging with pulling guards. It’s not often you see cornerbacks bringing the fight to an offensive lineman.
Brents’ willingness to mix it up and make a physical impact is a testament to his competitiveness and is someone that most defensive coaches would love to have on their side.
Julius Brents is a standout cornerback who possesses a rare combination of size and length. His aggressive, physical playing style is particularly effective in man coverage, where it can challenge and disrupt receivers, making it difficult for them to execute their routes. To maximize his potential in the NFL, Brents must work on avoiding excessive grabbing and improving his ability to track the ball on deep passes. Despite these challenges, his skills against the run and zone coverage capabilities make him a highly sought-after prospect. With the right coaching and development, the sky is the limit for Brents and his potential impact on any defense.
If the Pittsburgh Steelers opt to overlook the top cornerbacks in this year’s draft, Julius Brents should be a top consideration for them at either pick 49 or 80. With his imposing stature and aggressive playing style, Brents embodies the classic Steeler mentality. He is reminiscent of former Steeler great, Ike Taylor, in his size, intensity, and swagger. Taylor, though never recognized with major accolades, was a staple in Pittsburgh’s defense due to his reliable and consistent play, as well as his willingness to tackle. Brents exhibits these same traits, making him an ideal candidate to join the Steelers.
Projection: Early Day 3
Depot Draft Grade: 8.0 – Potential Starter/Good Backup (3rd Round)
Games Watched: Alabama (2022), TCU Game 1 (2022), TCU Game 2 (2022), Baylor (2022), Oklahoma (2022), Senior Bowl