We have discussed at length in these draft articles the Seattle Seahawks’ need for a corner across from Tariq Woolen. Because of that, we have scouted the majority of the top corners in this draft to see if any of them fit the bill to pair with the third-place finisher for the Defensive Rookie of the Year.
We have yet to really dive in on the post Round 1 corners as there are multiple high upside guys who can be taken on Day 2 or Day 3. After all, the Seahawks did get Woolen in the fifth-round last season. Down below we are going to break down Kansas State cornerback Julius Brents, who might just be this year’s Tariq Woolen.
- Biggest strength - Run game support (7 on 1-9 scale) - He is extremely invested as a run defender. He is always looking to get his nose around the football. Brents is largely patient when containing the edge as he does not flow too much inside. He is smart in how he takes on blockers as well. If Brents is going against a receiver on the outside, he attacks their outside shoulder to hold the edge. If he is going up against a pulling lineman, he chops them in the midsection to prevent them from moving him and getting to another defender. As a tackler Brents is able to pack a bunch flying in and lay out a ball carrier preventing any yards after contact. However, he also can be a very technically sound tackler wrapping up around the waist with his head up. He is willing to chase plays down from the backside and when going for a tackle from behind he has the FBI to go for a punch on the ball.
Julius Brents is so physical. Kansas State regularly played him down in the box to try to set the edge/make plays in the run game, and not hard to see why pic.twitter.com/M5au9Tfzti— Bradley Locker (@Bradley_Locker) March 10, 2023
- Brents is a lengthy length corner with fantastic physical traits.
- In short areas his closing speed is good (6).
- He has very fluid hips that allow him to transition seamlessly during the course of the route.
- When Brents’ mechanics are right he has the athleticism necessary to have one of the best triggers in football but there is a lot of work to go on that front.
- Brents’ ball skills are good (6). He has good (6) hands and sees the ball well when he is sitting back in zone.
- Biggest weakness - Defending vertical routes - Brents struggles down the field in man and zone coverage. He has a tendency to lean on the receiver later in the route and start to grab them as the throw is getting closer. He looks panicked at times and does not get his head around in time and when he does, he struggles to find the ball.
Something to work on for Julius Brents, Deep Field awareness.— The Podfather (@TheBurgundyZone) March 14, 2023
Julius is in press man vs QJ and gets flagged after chaotically holding the WR. Brents loses control in these situations. #HTTC #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/h7fxpFTHbC
- As a route gets further down the field receivers are slowly able to separate more and more from him.
- Out of the press he is very passive with his hands. He often waits 4 or more yards to get his hands on the receiver to try and dictate the direction of the route.
- His footwork out of press is very sloppy. Rather than staying on the balls of his toes he is very loud with his feet, replacing them constantly and getting flatfooted/playing on his heels.
- He gets in between at the start of the route overplaying his leverage and guessing too quickly. This allows receivers who are more patient with their release or are running a quick double move to create a massive amount of separation from him early in the route.
- In zone coverage, Brents was way too easily manipulated and often looked out of sorts and as if he was overthinking the play.
- His eye discipline was poor (4). If Brents saw any type of formation or pre-snap movement that would indicate a screen, he would come flying downhill taking him well out of position resulting in a blown coverage and open receiver.
- When gaining depth in off Cover 3 where his shoulders are parallel to the line of scrimmage, he would play flat footed, and his feet would consistently cross over. He also had almost a hitch in his step where his inside knee had a tendency to bend inwards which is going to significantly hurt his ability to trigger up field.
Floor/ceiling - Brents’ combination of high-end athleticism, very good length and run support and good ball skills give him the ceiling of a high-end corner. However, his struggles in both man and zone coverage, poor eye discipline and bad footwork give him the floor of a 5th corner who plays special teams.
Grade - 5.9 - High end backup first day of second season - 4th round.
Grade explanation - Brents is a massive project as a cornerback. Like Woolen coming out of UTSA, all of the physical traits are there. However, there are significant question marks about Brents as a corner. As discussed in the weakness section, his footwork is poor, his press is sloppy and he makes some extremely questionable decisions in zone. But, he is an unbelievable athlete, which is going to get him drafted high and likely a lot higher than he should be. The difference between his athletic makeup/traits and actual polish to his game is where there is such a wide gap in between his floor and ceiling. If he cleans everything up, watch out, if not he is a special teamer who will get some backend defensive snaps.
Schematic fit - Brents projects best as a high-end backup with the potential to become more quickly in a zone coverage scheme. He can develop into a man corner, but he needs to clean up a lot with his press technique, understanding of leverage and footwork in order to become that. Brents will be able to play in obvious running situations because of his impact against the run.