Former Kentucky cornerback Brandin Echols was drafted by the New York Jets in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Echols played two seasons for the Wildcats. First, we’ll take a look at Echols’ UK career and how the Cats can replace the two-year starting cornerback.
Brandin Echols was a two-year starter for the Wildcats. The former junior college standout played in 24 games with 22 consecutive starts. Echols’ totaled 108 career tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 11 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 interception. Strong against the run, Echols averaged 53 tackles per season as a Wildcat. The New York Jet was steady and at times explosive.
Replacing Brandin Echols will be a difficult proposition. The 5’11, 180-pound defensive back was a consistent presence in the Cat’s secondary that led the SEC in pass defense in 2019 and 2020. Competition for his vacated spot has been intense. Senior Cedrick Dort appears to have emerged as the starter following spring practice.
Cedrick Dort is a 5’11, 182-pound senior cornerback from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He’s played in 31 career games including 13 starts. Dort played in nine games as a true freshman in 2017 before redshirting the following season. Dort started 12 games in 2019 and did not surrender a touchdown during his sophomore campaign. Dort started one game a year ago but played in 10 contests in which he totaled 10 tackles to go with 2 pass breakups.
What Does All This Mean?
Brandin Echols is one of the most under-appreciated Wildcats in recent memory. Echols was a solid defender for a Wildcat pass defense that led the SEC in back-to-back seasons. Cedrick Dort projects to take over as the Wildcat’s starting at corner. Dort is a solid and experienced veteran cornerback with one 13 starts. His transition from contributor back to starter should be smooth.