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Colts’ 2023 rookie review: CB Julius Brents

The Indianapolis Colts rookie class from the 2023 season had plenty of ups and downs throughout what was an encouraging campaign from the organization as a whole.

With their first season now behind them, it’s time to take a quick look back at how they performed and where they may be headed in the future. In our rookie review series, we’ll be taking a look at each 2023 draft pick currently still with the team.

We started this series reviewing the rookie season for quarterback Anthony Richardson.

Now, it’s time to review the rookie season for cornerback Julius Brents, who was selected with the No. 44 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft.

2023 stats

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Games (Starts)

9 (8)

Tackles

43

Solo Tackles

30

Passes Defensed

6

Forced Fumbles

1

Interceptions

1

Rating in Coverage (PFF)

109.1

TDs Allowed (PFF)

3

Yards per Rec. Allowed (PFF)

14.2

 

What went right

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Though Brents had an up and down rookie campaign, he showed a lot of promise as a cornerback who can develop into an impact starter. He never backed down from a challenge despite going up against some of the best X receivers in the NFL, and he routinely proved his physicality can match that of other players around the league. Brents also came through with some big moments late in the season, giving him a solid foundation to build off of moving forward.

What went wrong

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries certainly played a role in Brents’ rookie season. When he was selected by the Colts in the second round of the draft, he was already recovering from wrist surgery. Then, he arrived at training camp with a hamstring injury. He wound up playing nine games and making eight starts because of injuries. But when he was on the field, he was a starter, logging 82% of the defensive snaps when he played. On the field, Brents was inconsistent in coverage as he got a feel for life in the NFL. One game, he would look fantastic and then follow it up with some questionable coverage in the next. Cleaning up that inconsistency is his main focus this offseason.

Best game

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

This one is a bit interesting because the numbers may not support it fully, but I was most impressed with Brents during the Week 17 game against the Las Vegas Raiders. He was routinely matched up against Davante Adams, who remains one of the premier wideouts in the game. According to Pro Football Focus, Brents was targeted 13 times in that game. He was credited with seven receptions allowed for 76 yards, but he also recorded three passes defensed and a 71.3 passer rating in coverage. He made some crucial PBUs late in the game against Adams to help the Colts seal what was a vital win at the time. This game showed that Brents has what it takes to match up against the league’s best and still come through with a big game.

Overall review

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Brents has a bright future as a boundary corner in the NFL. He’ll get a full offseason to work in Gus Bradley’s defense, which should help further his development. If he can keep the injuries at bay and clean up some of the inconsistencies in coverage, Brents can be a strong starting player for the Colts over the next handful of seasons.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire