Unpacking Future Packers: No. 52, Kansas State DB Julius Brents
The Unpacking Future Packers Countdown is a countdown of 100 prospects that could be selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 2023 NFL draft.
As it stands right now there are a lot of moving parts and question marks surrounding Green Bay’s secondary. Adrian Amos is set to be a free agent, leaving Darnell Savage Jr as their only safety under contract with any meaningful snaps under his belt.
At cornerback, Jaire Alexander is fresh off an All-Pro season. Right now, he’s the only sure thing in Joe Barry’s secondary.
Rasul Douglas, like the rest of the defense, struggled with consistency. Douglas struggled playing in the slot, but even after moving back on the boundary he failed to replicate the success he had the year prior. There have been talks about Green Bay possibly moving Douglas to safety. That’s one moving part.
Prior to suffering a season-ending injury, Eric Stokes was going through a sophomore slump. How will he look coming off that injury in training camp? During his rookie season, Stokes looked like a lockdown cornerback. Will he be able to get back to that level of play in year three?
Where will the Packers play Savage? Will they have him in the slot? If the Packers can get anything for him would they be open to trading the former first-round pick after he got benched last season?
The pieces are there, it’s just a matter of where they will fit. With how talented the cornerback class is in the 2023 NFL Draft it’s a safe bet that Brian Gutekunst will add at least one, possibly even two cornerbacks in the upcoming draft.
A player that Green Bay’s general manager could target in April is Julius Brents. The Kansas State cornerback checks in at No. 52 in the Unpacking Future Packers countdown.
A recruit out of Indiana, Brents started his collegiate career at Iowa before transferring to Kansas State. During his first season as a Wildcat, he recorded 49 tackles, three tackles for loss, and one interception.
This past season Brents recorded 45 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, and four pass deflections.
“Julius had a really good season for Kansas State,” Drew Galloway, the Kansas State reporter for On3Sports said. “He essentially took away a side of the field in every game. K-State never does matchups so he just was on one side of the field the whole season and did a really good job. He was good in his first season as well but did a lot better when the ball was in the air. He was victim to a lot of really good catches a year ago because he couldn’t finish the play but this season he finished the play well and did a good job. His improvement is one of the reasons why K-State won the Big 12.”
Standing at 6-3, with 34-inch arms, his length goes on for days. With his length, he chokes passing windows and gives the quarterback a small window to throw into. He’s disruptive at the catch point and does a good job of playing through the hands of the wide receiver. To go along with that length, Brents can leap out of the stadium. A former track athlete, Brents showcased his leaping ability at the scouting combine with a 41.5-inch vertical and an 11-06 mark in the broad jump.
Broad Jump 11’6 https://t.co/Rc8d3w5YMf pic.twitter.com/MlDWggTUfr
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) March 3, 2023
“The thing that makes him so effective in coverage is his length,” Galloway said. “If he gets beat deep he can always make up for it with his length. He had a rep in one on ones at the senior bowl where the quarterback didn’t even throw the ball because of Brents’ length bothering the receiver in coverage.”
Brents has a twitchy lower half and swivel hips. In zone coverage, Brents has disciplined eyes and showcases good route recognition. Brents uses his length and physicality to reroute wide receivers.
Julius Brents on his mentality on the outside:
“I love playing up in people’s faces… people think bigger guys are stiff and can’t flip [hips] and run, I have all those intangibles.” pic.twitter.com/sA1LO5kchB
— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) March 2, 2023
“His biggest strength is being sticky in coverage,” Galloway said. “He rarely gets beat deep and is always super sticky. He uses his size really well and is always in the right spot when it comes to coverage.”
Brents is a physical coming up in run support. He looks like a safety with the way he throws his body around. With his length, he has a large tackle radius. He has a high batting average as a tackler. According to Pro Football Focus, Brents had just four missed tackles this past season with three coming in Kansas State’s matchup against Oklahoma. Brents didn’t miss a tackle all season after that week four matchup against the Sooners.
“Brents is really, really good in run support,” Galloway said. “He made a lot of plays in run support this season. In the Oklahoma game, he made some big plays in run support. It’s kind of interesting when talking about a corner but one place where K-State missed him in the Texas game where he was ejected for targeting in the second play of the game was in run support.”
Brents played primarily on the boundary during his time as a Wildcat. He has the short-area quickness and agility to line up in the slot and he has the size, length, and physicality to match up with tight ends. Some teams may even view him as a safety. Galloway said his best fit is on the boundary where he has the ability to take half the field away.
“I think he’s best suited to be a boundary corner at the next level,” Galloway said. “He doesn’t blow you away with speed but he’s so reliable and can take away a whole side of the field.”
Fit with the Packers
When the Packers take the field to open the season what will their secondary look like? Who will be playing in the slot? Who will be the two starting safeties? Who will be starting opposite Alexander on the boundary? There are a lot of balls up in the air.
With so many moving parts, the only thing that’s certain is that Gutekunst will add a player to the mix.
Brents has rare length for the position and he has the ability to play anywhere in the secondary. With his athleticism, size, and physicality, Brents could be a day-two target for the Packers as they look to add more talent to the secondary.
The length of cornerbacks Joey Porter Jr. (@PennStateFball) and Julius Brents (@KStateFB) was on display at the 2023 NFL Combine.
Both cornerbacks measured in with 34" arms, tied for the 5th-longest arm length by any cornerback since 2003. pic.twitter.com/1pj9oCke11
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) March 4, 2023
Where Brents would fit in that puzzle would be a question mark. What isn’t a question is the rare traits that the Kansas State defensive back would bring to Green Bay’s secondary.
“Brents has so many things that can’t be taught,” Galloway said. “He has crazy size, length, and athleticism for a corner. He’s extremely reliable in coverage and Quienten Johnston called him the best corner he’s gone up against in both seasons. His biggest weakness is probably his ball skills which is something that can be taught over his other attributes. He has everything you could possibly want from a corner. He’s a great leader as well.”
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