One prospect who may interest the Denver Broncos during day two of the 2023 NFL Draft is former Kansas State cornerback Julius Brents. He is a 6’4”, 198-pound cornerback who is considered one of the more intriguing corners in the NFL Draft. The Draft Network has Brents ranked as their seventh-best cornerback and their 36th overall player in the entire draft.
Brents started his career at Iowa but transferred to Kansas State and turned into one of the better cornerbacks in the country during that span. During his two seasons and Kansas State, he totaled 94 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, 5 interceptions, 6 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble. This past season, he totaled 45 tackles. 3.5 tackles for a loss, 4 interceptions, 4 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble.
Julius Brents has all the physical tools, range, agility and awareness to handle multiple coverages. Physical against the run to force the ball inside or make the tackle. The 6-foot-4 Brents is set up to get Drafted in Round 4 or 5 IMO. pic.twitter.com/GER5w0BrT3— All 22 Films (@All_22_NFL_Cuts) March 1, 2023
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 198 pounds | 40-time: 4.53 seconds
Arm Length: 34” | Hands: 9 5/8”
Vertical Jump: 41.5 inches | Broad Jump: 11”6” | 3-Cone Drill: 6.63 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.05 seconds
- Elite size, length, and athleticism
- Physical player
- Willing and physical tackler
- Physical at the line and disrupts the receiver with his press skills
- Uses his size and leaping ability to highpoint the ball and make a play on it
- Has really good zone awareness and is at his best while in zone coverage
- Projects to be a boundary corner in a zone scheme or a press man scheme
- Potential positional versatility at safety
- A tough and physical player
- Lacks long speed
- Is a work in progress with man coverage
- Might be a zone only player
- Can struggle against smaller faster receivers
Julius Brents RAS
One of the reasons #RAS exists is so we can look at performances like the one Julius Brents put up and recognize it for the elite athletic performance it was, without dwelling on a pedestrian 40 time.https://t.co/DYGZxA7Xa6 #RAS pic.twitter.com/fePhpDUTBB— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 4, 2023
What other analysts are saying about Kansas State cornerback Julius Brents
Brents is a classic zone cover corner with an outstanding blend of size, length and leaping ability. He has the disruptive traits to reroute the release and the dog in him to handle his business in run support. He can play some press-man on a vertical plane but lacks the top-end speed and pattern matching to play in that scheme full-time. Brents needs to maintain eye discipline from zone but has the ball skills to win a battle for the pass when he’s in position. While he’s likely to be targeted in the draft as a zone-based corner, he has the instincts and demeanor to make a move to safety if needed. - NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein
Brents does some good things in coverage but there are some elements that he needs to work on. In off-coverage situations, Brents has to flip his hips to run vertically with receivers—his open hip transition is not quick and receivers are able to get on top of him and begin to separate. On deep passes, Brents lacks the top speed to stay in phase with receivers to carry them vertically. Oftentimes, Brents feels receivers separating and will reach out to grab them, which could result in a pass interference penalty. - The Draft Network’s Keith Sanchez
Brents projects as a No. 3 corner who should be utilized on the outside mainly in a zone scheme. He has the physical tools to play in press, but he needs work on his technique before being asked to be a true press-man corner. He is productive against the run due to his physicality and play strength and has the ability to utilize his range in coverage. On 3rd down, allowing him to play in zone on the outside will best utilize his length, zone awareness, and ball skills. His physical playing style, play speed, and toughness should allow him to see time on most special teams units as a strong contributor. - SIS
If the Broncos still had Vic Fangio’s zone-heavy scheme, Brents would be a top target. However, with Vance Joseph now running the Broncos' defense, that is not the case anymore. Historically, Joseph runs a man coverage-heavy defense which goes against Brents strengths as a corner. He is a plug-play zone coverage corner in a cover-3 or cover-2 defense. While he does have potential in a press-man defense, he would need more development in that area to succeed.
Now, we do not know the exact kind of defense Joseph will run with the Broncos just yet, but his “attack” defense is historically man-coverage-heavy. So, corners that have that strength and potential will likely be targeted before Brents. However, it is hard to pass on a 6’4” corner with these athletic traits. We saw them do it last year with Tariq Woolen who went on to have an excellent rookie season. If they believe they can develop his man coverage skills or plan on running more zone, he could be an option.
It is hard to say if Brents will be available for the Broncos in the third round. Some have him as a late first-round pick while others have him out of their top 100 and as a day 3 selection. So, it remains to be seen if the Broncos will have a chance to draft him, but if so, it will be interesting to see what they do. m