Good coaching can do a lot of things. It can allow a player to reach new heights and encourage growth towards their peak potential. There is, however, no substitute for raw athleticism and there is no coach who can coach size. In the NFL tall cornerbacks are not a thing of the past but they are quickly becoming the wave of the present. With so many wide receivers coming into the league that are well over six feet tall, having a long corner presents defenses with more favorable matchups.
The Buccaneers have not been immune to this trend. Tampa Bay currently does not have a single cornerback under six feet on the roster and with both Jamel Dean and Sean Murphy-Bunting set to hit free agency this offseason it may be time to look at investing a draft pick into a replacement. Losing Dean and Murphy-Bunting would be difficult losses for the Buccaneers to navigate, due to the sheer quantity of snaps played between them over the last several seasons, as one has always been a starter opposite Carlton Davis, injuries aside.
This puts the Bucs in the cornerback market come draft night—
Enter today’s edition of ‘This week at the Senior Bowl’
In part one we talked about the receiver position, specifically, Puka Nacua. Highlighting a potential depth piece that the Buccaneers may look to add in the draft. In part two we’re going to be taking a look at an individual who may be tasked with covering Nacua this Saturday when the Senior Bowl kicks off.
After two days of practice Julius Brents has asserted his name into any conversation themed around the American Team. He has, very casually, been checking off box after box. The official Senior Bowl measurements on Brents came in at six feet three inches and 202 pounds, making him not just a big corner but a huge corner. His size is apparent amongst his peers as he towers over teammates at his position. Brents’ size also shows up in his play. The Kansas State prospect has featured an ability to bully other members of the American Team in the one-on-one periods of practice through days one and two.
Post practice, when he met with the media, Brents accentuated some of the benefits of his length—
“Using it to my advantage, letting my presence be felt, get hands on guys [cause] at the next level it’s all about timing, so by using my length to my advantage, just disrupting the route could throw off a whole scheme.”
Brents was smart and calculated in his answers. Just being tall doesn’t make you good in coverage. Being fully aware of this, the corner took multiple opportunities to pull himself away from being pigeonholed as solely a big physical press corner—
“You know a lot of guys expect me to always get hands on at the line and press them, but you know, [I] got a lot of different tools in the toolbox, other techniques… I’m twitchy, a lot of guys don’t really expect that.”
Julius Brents is a definitive fit for what the Buccaneers like to look for in a cornerback and he has spent the better portion of this week establishing why he is one of the better corners here in Mobile. With one practice remaining, it is hard to imagine seeing anything different from Brents on the field. His next big test will be the game itself. The Senior Bowl will be played on Saturday, giving Brents a brighter spotlight to feature his skills.