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Jalen Julius scooped up by Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs as undrafted free agent

J2 could be the depth Steve Spagnuolo is missing.

Arkansas v Mississippi Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Former Ole Miss defensive back Jalen Julius has signed as an undrafted free agent with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Julius signed with the Rebels rated as a 4-star prospect by ESPN.com on both offense as a receiver and defense as an athlete. The 5-foot-10, 192-pound Florida native found his position as a cornerback and earned Athlon’s freshman All-SEC second team honors as a freshman, recording 21 tackles and two passes defended. He fractured his left arm in the spring and his production dropped in nine games as a sophomore, but he rebounded with 34 total tackles in the same position as a junior.

When Ole Miss transitioned to a 3-4 system, Julius started every game at free safety in his senior year in 2019. He recorded a career-high 68 tackles and 7 passes defended. He had a fantastic pro day and ran a 4.4 second forty. When he gets going in the open field, his speed shows.

“I’d rather be respected than liked,” Julius said before the draft.

What does he do well?

Julius wasn’t at full strength for much of his sophomore and junior years. When he made the move to free safety, he showed a lot of raw potential but also got burned on quite a few occasions. When sitting in the Cover 1 defense, his job was to help overtop. He frequently lost track of the ball and was often nowhere to be found when a receiver got past the first level. He will need more time to learn the position and develop a sense for the entire field, as opposed to the singular receiver mindset he was accustomed to at corner back.

As the game moves toward RPOs and pass-heavy fronts, the free safety has to cover the slot receiver, which not many free safeties can do. Julius is physical and can step up over the middle and lay the lumber, or lock down a big body.

“I ain’t scared to hit,” he said.

Where does he fit in?

The Super Bowl champions have the safety position on lock, with Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill atop the depth chart. However, the secondary is spread thin at corner back and in need of athletes to rotate in and out against spread or five-receiver offensive formations. Julius undeniably needs work and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has to be willing to show patience in his transition to the NFL.

If Julius can continue to grow in the secondary, he could be a multi-purpose back and become a valuable cog in a well-oiled world champion defensive machine.

Hear from the experts:

Former Ole Miss defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre —

“He can cover. That allows you to do more things with your safeties and responsibilities.”