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Indianapolis Colts

2023 Rookie Review: Colts CB Juju Brents flashes physicality, competitiveness, upside

Brents flashed plenty of upside in 2023, but fought through injuries throughout the season that limited him to nine games. 


2023 Statistics

  • 9 games
  • 8 starts
  • 496 snaps
  • 5 pass break-ups
  • 1 interception
  • 1 forced fumble
  • 1 fumble recovery
  • 43 tackles

The Big Picture

Brents battled injuries throughout his rookie season. He missed OTAs and offseason minicamp while recovering from a wrist injury, then was held out of the first half of training camp while he worked his way back from a hamstring injury. Brents didn't play in Weeks 1 and 2, then started Weeks 3-7 before a quad injury sustained against the Cleveland Browns held him out until Week 15. In the Colts' season finale, Brents exited with a hamstring injury. 

"At the end of the day with JuJu, he's very talented," general manager Chris Ballard said. "He cares deeply. We think he's going to really be an excellent player, but he's got to be healthy, and he's got to practice – that's how you get better. He's a great kid and he cares. When he played, he played well."

Brents' length, physicality and competitiveness immediately translated to success on the field in his NFL debut against the Baltimore Ravens, in which he forced a game-shifting fumble in the first quarter. Brents held wide receiver Zay Flowers and tight end Mark Andrews to just three catches on five targets for 18 yards, with his coverage on Andrews proving key late in the Colts' 22-19 overtime win. 

In Week 17, Brents swatted away three Aidan O'Connell passes in the Colts' 23-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, including an end zone breakup while playing man-to-man coverage against star wideout Davante Adams. 

"I love the way that JuJu Brents competes," linebacker Zaire Franklin said after that win over the Raiders. 

Brents, as the Colts expected through the pre-draft process, was particularly skilled in press coverage. Per Pro Football Focus, Brents allowed a successful play when targeted in press coverage just 43.2 percent of the time, the fifth-lowest rate in the NFL. 

Similar to fellow rookie Anthony Richardson, Brents flashed plenty of potential in 2023 but enters the 2024 offseason knowing he needs to be healthier in Year 2 with the Colts. 

"Just to fully fortify my body, making sure that I'm able to withstand a full season – that's gonna be my number one goal," Brents said. "I mean, it's obvious I know I can go out there and play and perform, but it's hard to do that when you're not on the field. So, I just want to make sure that I'm dialed in on all those aspects off the field and make sure that I'm fully ready to go when it comes to the 2024 season."

Season Highlights

View the best photos from cornerback JuJu Brents' rookie season with the Indianapolis Colts.

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