2023 NFL Draft Measurements
JL Skinner 40-Yard Dash Time – 4.55
6’4” / 220 lbs.
JL Skinner Draft Profile
JL Skinner is a former 4-star recruit out of Point Loma High School in San Diego, CA. According to 247sports, Skinner was the 44th best player in the state of California in the 2019 recruiting class. He was also ranked in the top 20 out of all the athletes in the nation. A player is classified as an athlete when they play multiple positions on one side of the ball. In Skinner’s case, he played all over the defense meaning he cannot be classified as one position. While achieving this status, Skinner gained interest from 21 division I schools, 15 of which offered him a scholarship. After visiting California and Boise State, he decided to take his to Boise, Idaho, and play for the Broncos.
Upon arrival at Boise State, he has been a very impressive player. He has appeared in every game since his freshman season. He even started the first game of the season against Florida St. In this season, he racked up 14 tackles and 3 pass defenses. In his sophomore season, he started all six games of the season and improved his stats tremendously. He put up 37 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 pass defended. His junior season is what has put him so high on draft boards. According to ESPN, he had 92 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions and 3 passes defended. Finally, so far this season, he has 62 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 4 passes defended.
JL Skinner is the ideal size for a strong safety in the NFL. He stands at 6’4” and weighs 220 lbs. with a wingspan of 77”. This allows him to be effective against the run and in zone coverage. His above-average frame allows him to hold his own and shed blocks made by tight ends. In zone coverage, his big frame allows him to cover more ground in his zone. This makes the QB second guess their decision to throw toward Skinner. But, there is one curse that comes with being this tall at the safety position. That curse is the lack of ability to quickly rotate his hips but, I will go more into that later.
When watching his film, I was impressed with Skinner’s ability to drop his shoulder and lay out the ball carrier. When in flat zone coverage, Skinner is really good at exploding toward the defender and attacking their hips with his shoulder. This targets the ball carrier’s center of gravity, forcing them to go down. This hit power also leads to some forced fumbles on occasion as well. If he can learn to consistently place his helmet right on top of the ball, he will force many fumbles in the NFL.
As I briefly mentioned earlier, Skinner is very good in flat and short zone coverage. In order to be effective in zone coverage, you have to have good field vision, size, and athleticism. Fortunately for Skinner, he is gifted with all of these abilities. He does a good job of diagnosing the offense before the ball is snapped and this allows him quickly get set in coverage. His athleticism is also helpful because he has good acceleration and explosiveness that allows him to follow a defender through his zone if needed. Finally, as I mentioned earlier, his size allows him to take up more space on the field compared to other defensive backs.
As I have mentioned several times throughout this report, Skinner is a very explosive athlete. Although his hip mobility is a little limited, he does a good job of exploding in any direction once he is set. His explosiveness allows him to be very dangerous when rushing the passer from the slot or edge. This is because he can quickly get around the opposing tackle before they get a single hand on him. His ability to stop the run is also primarily due to his ability to explode off the snap and get into the backfield.
As I mentioned earlier, Skinner has tremendous size. Although this is a positive and allows him to be versatile, it also hinders his hip mobility. He has long legs that make it difficult for him to flip open his hips in press-man coverage. It also hinders his ability to sink his hips and change direction when the receiver makes a break in their route. Not having very good hip mobility will have a big impact on his effectiveness in the NFL. When playing the safety position, you need to be effective in the middle of the field. To be effective in the middle of the field, you have to be able to change direction quickly.
When watching his film, I consistently saw that Skinner is adequate in soft man coverage. When he is lined up in the slot, he often plays the receiver too far under him. This allows the receiver to quickly separate from his coverage in the middle of the field and make an easy catch for a short-intermediate gain. When he is lined up on the outside, he will either play them too far under him again or overcommit in coverage and get dusted downfield.
JL Skinner Draft Stock
Personally, I am high on Skinner and would be comfortable taking him in the middle-late 2nd round. But, he will likely be a 3rd round pick, maybe a late 2nd-rounder if a team is in love with his game and doesn’t want to risk losing him.
Final Thoughts on JL Skinner
Overall, JL Skinner is one of the most interesting prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. He has tremendous size standing at 6’4” and weighing 220 lbs. with a 77” wingspan. Although his size is ideal, it does often hinder his hip mobility. But, his explosiveness will often cover the ground that he loses due to his lack of hip mobility. He also plays with a lot of aggression that allows him to lay out the ball carrier anywhere on the field. If Skinner can work on his hip mobility and perform well in the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, he will be a special talent in the NFL.
JL Skinner Player Comparison
He reminds me a lot of Las Vegas Raider and former Virginia Tech Hokie Divine Deablo. But, his size and explosiveness show me glimpses of Kyle Hamilton.
JL Skinner Scouting Report Analyst – Matthew Lewis
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