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2023 NFL Draft Profile: Kansas State CB Julius Brents

Robert Schmitz shares his scouting report of Kansas State cornerback Julius Brents.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 03 Big 12 Championship - TCU vs Kansas State Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In every presser I heard while I was at the NFL Combine, Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus continued to emphasize their need for one specific trait: length. While they often cited the need for length along the defensive line, length helps across all sorts of positions like offensive line, linebacker, and outside cornerback.

And there’s no corner with more length in this class than Kansas State’s Julius Brents, who we’ll be covering in today’s draft profile.

If you followed the combine, you may have heard Brents’ name throughout Friday’s DB session — he had a stellar day in compression shorts, racking up outstanding numbers while looking natural and fluid throughout positional drills.

But athletic testing numbers don’t make a football player great, so who is Brents when the pads come on? Let’s dive into the film and see for ourselves.


For a man as big as Brents is, he still manages to move with a jarring amount of fluidity. He clicks and closes relatively well, can decelerate out of his backpedal naturally, and can shift from a backpedal to a half-turn without losing too much speed when opponents run go routes against him.

He’s not the most agile corner you’ve ever seen, but he’s one of the most agile corners you’ve seen at his size, and that’s the focus here — this lets him play all kinds of assignments (press-man, catch-man, Cover 2/3/4 zones) without ever becoming “too physically slow” for the role.

When you pair this agility with the hands we’ll discuss later, you’ve got a great foundation to build off of.

Brents’ athleticism really shows itself off in the run game, where he’s an edge-setter, a playmaker, and a big hitter. Watch him plant his feet and drive downfield with his hips — it’s a thing of beauty watching a man that big break that quickly, and his length/size clearly give TEs and even OL trouble at times.

CBs aren’t the end-all be-all in run defense, but in the NFL, every man counts — if Brents can give you “1.25 defenders” in the box with his length and physicality, that’s an advantage that nickel-heavy defenses like Chicago will want to make use of.

Brents, at 6-foot-2.5-inches, uses his 34” arms to bully receivers of all shapes and sizes. He’s not the most technically sound jammer, but when he gets the green light and lands his hands, the rep is over.

Think about how long 34” arms are — his arms are longer than Peter Skoronsi’s, Teven Jenkins’, and even the Colts’ Quenton Nelson. Obviously, those comparisons are just for fun, but Brents out-reaches plenty of notable X-receivers as well, like Justin Jefferson (33”), Drake London (33”), and Christian Watson (32.5”). The extra inch in his arms won’t win reps by default, but it creates a phenomenal physical foundation to build off of as you teach Brents your defense while also giving Brents another way to beat the WR across from him. Establish your hands & slow them down.

In particular, some of Brents’ 2021 reps vs Patriot speedster Tyquan Thornton stand out to me on this reel — smaller receivers often beat bigger corners with quick footwork off the line of scrimmage, but Brents establishes his hands on Thornton more than once and uses them to (legally) win reps that his feet alone might not have been able to.


Not everything about Brents’ game is perfect. His technique is raw in all kinds of areas (likely because he didn’t need good technique to win in the spread-heavy Big 12) like:

  • Tracking his man & the ball in deep zone coverage (pictured below)
  • Handling speed off the line of scrimmage (also pictured below)
  • Maintaining proper balance throughout his drops
  • Recovering well when the WR across from you wins at the release
  • Decelerating with his WR after full-sprinting for 10+ yards (he’ll currently run 5-10 yards past where his man stopped and assume the play is over)

But I think many of these areas will get better as Brents works with NFL DB coaching and competes against NFL WR talent. Iron sharpens iron, and an athlete with tools like Brents’ needs quality competition (like the Senior Bowl) to bring the best out of him and show him where he needs to improve.

Fit with the Bears

I really like Brents’ fit in Chicago and think he could pair well with Kyler Gordon in a bizarre world where the Chicago Bears don’t extend Jaylon Johnson. Also, if the Bears want to continue using Gordon primarily as a Nickel Corner, Brents would be a big upgrade on the outside over Kindle Vildor with an outside shot at becoming a Tariq Woolen-esque star.

I personally have Brents graded as a late 2nd rounder, but that’s just because I can’t imagine letting a guy with his athletic potential get too far beyond that point. Tariq Woolen’s testing was wild too so he certainly could fall, but I think he’s a plug-and-play starter at the next level that will take his rookie lumps and grow through them over time.

What do YOU think of Julius Brents?