Commanders 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Trench warfare edition

(David Banks-USA TODAY Sports) Paris Johnson Jr.
(David Banks-USA TODAY Sports) Paris Johnson Jr. /
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(Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports) Julius Brents /

Commanders draft Julius Brents

  • Cornerback | Kansas State Wildcats

Perhaps the most important area that must be filled on defense centers on the cornerback position. While Kendall Fuller and Benjamin St-Juste are serviceable, the Washington Commanders need a physical defensive back with the potential to shut down one side of the field over time.

Julius Brents might not be able to attain such feats as a rookie. But his size and length make him a potential key rotational piece that can progress into a productive starter with further refinement.

Brents came of age for Kansas State in 2022 and backed this up with an outstanding week at the 2023 Senior Bowl. He has every intangible normally associated with modern-day cornerbacks and at 6-foot-4, moves incredibly well for a bigger player at the position.

The prospect has enough straight-line speed to go downfield with receivers and reacts well when they get out of their routes. Brents has the aggressiveness to thrive in press coverage, even if this might be more difficult upon arriving in the pros, and his ability to assist on running downs is something that already looks ready for the next level.

There is some development needed, particularly from a footwork standpoint. But if the Commanders manage to secure a veteran cornerback in free agency, this becomes a viable option with long-term upside.