49ers must aggressively trade up for CB Julius Brents in 2023 NFL Draft

Cornerback Julius Brents #23 of the Kansas State Wildcats (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
Cornerback Julius Brents #23 of the Kansas State Wildcats (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) /

The 49ers are without a high pick in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. They can stay put or they can swing a trade and aggressively pursue cornerback Julius Brents. 

Since the end of last season, the San Francisco 49ers secondary has had a bit of a facelift. With Emmanuel Moseley leaving for Detroit, and the nickel position left vacated by Jimmie Ward, the Niners have some holes to fill.

Despite the movement at key positions, Charvarius Ward remains the undisputed CB1.

But who will line up on the other side as his equal?

As it stands, the team has quite a few options. Ambry Thomas, Deommodore Leonoir and Sam Womack are standing by, waiting, for an opportunity to prove themselves.

During the free-agent signing period, general manager John Lynch brought in defensive back Isaiah Oliver to round out the squad, he seems to be the favorite to start.

Read More: Revisiting 49ers’ top NFL Draft needs following free agency

But what if the front office was just conducting due diligence, and the plan all along was to lean toward the draft for a starter?

If that were the case, they would be wise to invest in cornerback Julius Brents.

Brents is a long-limbed athlete with a rare size for his position. At 6-foot-4 and 202 pounds, he has a quick first step and can go up and fight for the ball in downfield throwing situations.

The Kansas State alum has 32 career starts, 27 consecutive, and set career highs for tackles-for-loss, interceptions and passes defended in his final season with the Wildcats.

Brents was originally projected to be a late third-round pick, but a solid NFL Scouting Combine performance has increased his value to the middle of the second round. If his stock continues to rise, then his trajectory could land him somewhere closer to Round 1.

Currently, the 49ers don’t make a selection until pick No. 99 overall. However, they do have a young, capable quarterback in Trey Lance who could be up for grabs if they were offered the right price.

Rumors broke recently that if Lynch was willing to part with the young signal caller, then a second-rounder would be enough to let him go.

Lance for a second-round pick? Brents projected as a second-round pick? Is it all coincidence? Maybe, but nonetheless, if you don’t need two starting quarterbacks and you are in need of a shutdown cover man, then it’s not hard to read the writing on the wall.

If used correctly, the combination of Brents, Ward and Oliver could be one of lockdown proportions. Add in the younger depth the Niners have, and that could make for a very well-rounded group.

The key to this core group doing well, of course, is keeping fresh legs through valuable depth and keeping injuries to a minimum or none at all. If given the opportunity, there’s no reason this group couldn’t keep up with the big, physical receivers in the NFC.

Brents absolutely looks the part, but can he fill the big shoes in San Francisco?

That remains to be seen. In my opinion, he’s definitely worth a look to find out.

Next. 2023 mock NFL Draft after free agency fallout. dark