NAME: Jaquan Brisker
SCHOOL: Penn State
WEIGHT: 200 pounds
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jaquan Brisker attended Gateway Senior High School in nearby Monroeville, Pennsylvania. He played both football and basketball in high school. On the court, Brisker lettered twice in basketball and was selected as a first team all-selection as a senior. Some of that was possibly family lineage in the sport of basketball, as his grandfather John Brisker played college basketball at Toledo.
On the football field, he had a productive senior season. Brisker recorded 42 receptions, 781 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, while adding five punt return touchdowns in 2016. He earned first team All-Big East 5A all-selection and 5A All-WesternPAFootball.net All-State team honors for that senior campaign. Brisker was initially recruited by major football programs. However, academic issues hurt his chances for any NCAA Division I scholarships.
After academic problems became apparent, Brisker opted to join Lackawanna Community College in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He produced solidly right away during his freshman season in 2017. The defender recorded 54 tackles, six tackles for loss and four interceptions. Afterwards, his 2018 season was even stronger. Brisker registered 64 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, nine sacks, five pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He also served as a team captain and received first team NJCAA All-America, as well as Northeast Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Moving To Division I
Upon joining Penn State, Jaquan Brisker appeared in 13 games as a junior in 2019. He made 32 tackles that year, 15 solo, and also recorded three pass breakups and two interceptions (tied for the team lead).
The 2020 season was shortened because of the COVID pandemic. Nonetheless, Brisker served a larger role and became a starter that season. He started in all nine games. That allowed him to register numbers that included 57 tackles, 33 solo, six pass breakups (a team high), three tackles for loss, two quarterback hurries and one interception. Coaches named him as a third team All-Big Ten selection for 2020.
Not only did the pandemic shorten the 2020 season. It also allowed Brisker to return to Penn State in 2021 as a fifth-year senior, due to his extra year of eligibility. He once again started every game and was voted as a team captain. In those 12 games, Brisker registered 64 tackles, 38 solo, 5.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, two interceptions and one fumble recovery. His excellent season earned him first team All-Big Ten and second team All-American honors for 2021.
Instead of listing positives and negatives for traits, this year we will be listing the best trait of each prospect and work our way down to the biggest area of improvement/absent trait(s), from top to bottom.
Brisker wore many different hats within the Penn State defense. From his safety spot, he can play single-high safety, split-zone and in the slot. Brisker has also performed highly in the box or near the line of scrimmage. There will be more to playing safety in the NFL, compared to just reading, reacting and chasing near the line of scrimmage. Brisker had so much success and showed plenty of confidence just as close to the line of scrimmage though, as he did deep in coverage.
In the box or near the line of scrimmage, he displays high level instincts and can handle tighter run fits or chasing down the run with backside pursuit. He also jumped many throwing lanes while in coverage, no matter where he was lined up at.
When you look at everything that Brisker did within the Penn State defense, his ability to set a tone is constant throughout the entire game. He covers so much ground with nonstop effort on every single play. On the other hand, Brisker appears to answer the bell or rise up to high pressure moments. Many of his pass breakups or interceptions came on either a vital third down or on a play late in regulation. NFL coaches will love how quickly he challenges opposing pass catchers, ball carriers or blockers with toughness and tenacity. At the same time, Brisker won’t back down from any challenge.
I was pleasantly surprised with the length that Brisker has. You are able to see his ample tackle radius on some of the stops that he makes when working downhill or in space. Does he have solid tackling form? Yes. However, Brisker has an ability to jump off the screen with his hitting power, while maintaining body control when leading with his shoulder.
At the NFL level, that could be tested by opponents a bit more. He does a fine job of staying disciplined when leading with the shoulder most of the time. Yet, sustaining a tighter strike zone becomes even more crucial in today’s pro style game. His energy and effectiveness in this area will certainly motivate other defensive teammates, nonetheless.
The instincts and anticipation are what pops from Brisker in this area. Overall, it is something that has progressed for the defender throughout each season during his Penn State career. You see this arise in more areas than one. First, his ability to fit the run in multiple areas or alignments is rare for a safety. Brisker also does a great job of staying on top of routes and staying square to the opposing pass catcher. Finally, he is generally stout when it comes to feet and eye discipline. Brisker always appears to be in a position to make a stop.
One would likely envision Brisker needing to technically refine his ability to get in and out of breaks. Meanwhile, he covers many different areas of the field sufficiently. He carries routes up the field smoothly. Whereas when he works downhill, Brisker has the processing speed to catch opponents off guard with his timing. There is somewhat of a question mark when he works horizontally. However, Brisker has the recovery ability to still make the stop or execute his assignment.
There are a bit more inconsistencies in man coverage from Brisker. Working laterally, or turning and running down the field with a pass catcher can lead to some late reactions. That is difficult for Brisker, given where he makes his money. On top of that, he can become panicked on occasion against passes in the deeper areas of the field. Where does he succeed in man coverage? Brisker does a good job of gaining inside leverage. He is also extremely physical at the catch point.
In zone coverage, Brisker’s knowledge is on full display. He has a great understanding of body positioning, landmarks on the field and does not get too distracted with fakes or double moves from opposing receivers. There is also more looseness to his game than some people may realize, in terms of dropping back or finding depth.
With his physical brand of football, Brisker is able to distract pass catchers or throw them off balance. He exquisitely finishes at the catch point. In these moments, the defensive back swiftly clamps onto the opponent’s body. No catch comes easily against Brisker so to speak. On the flip side, his ability to attack the football has likely helped him find the football quicker and easier in space. Brisker has high level awareness, which should lead to more chances at pass breakups or interceptions moving forward.
Do not think there are many inefficiencies in this area. Although, questions about flexibility, change of direction skills and being able to take sharper angles will be important for his growth early on at the NFL level. Brisker is faster than some may realize. Asking him to be consistently relied upon in space may be tricky, however. Brisker tries to remain patient. That could be just as much of a hindrance, as it could be a benefit, when you consider the increase in play speed at the NFL level.
There is still more polish needed for Jaquan Brisker at the NFL level. He is certainly far from a finished product. But still, his ability to handle plenty of different roles and being able to understand them fully is important for today’s NFL. Brisker can counteract the pass happy, pace and space league style with his physicality and tone setting mentality. This shows up in more than one area. Whether it be pass coverage, run defense or against bigger bodied pass catchers, Brisker is intense during every single rep.
With the Kansas City Chiefs, three safeties are due for free agency (Tyrann Mathieu, Daniel Sorensen, Armani Watts). Mathieu returning to the Chiefs is still not out of the question. Nevertheless, the need to replenish the backend of the defense is highly important right now. Kansas City could have a lot of interest in relying on Brisker’s versatility and instincts, most of all.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs draft prospect profiles throughout this winter and spring. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.
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