2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Boise State S JL Skinner

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I will be profile a safety from Boise State.

#0 JL Skinner, S, Boise State (SR) — 6040, 218 lbs.

Senior Bowl/Combine/Pro Day


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
J.L. Skinner 6040/218 N/A N/A N/A
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press

The Good

—Unique size
—Experience playing split safety, in the box and occasionally in the slot
—Very good length and good hands for ball production
—Active communicator pre-snap
—Flows to the ball well
—Good processing through the mesh point
—Will take on blocks to force ball inside on the edge
— Willing, physical tackler inside or in space

The Bad

—Not a fit as a single high safety with marginal range
—Change of direction is adequate from backpedal
—Adequate acceleration to stay with receiver after cut
—Mismatched versus wide receivers in slot/outside
—Gets stuck on block and gives up ground
—Angles coming downhill/outside allow cutback
—Limited role in Man coverage


— 2022 – 65 tackles, 36 solo, .5 TFL, 4 INT for 30 yards, 5 PBU
— Career – 208 tackles, 133 solo, 9.5 TFL, 7 INT for 50 yards, 12 PBU, 3 FR, 2 FF
— 44 games, 31 starts
— East-West Shrine, Senior Bowl invitee
— 2022 First team All-Mountain West
— In high school, lettered three times each in basketball and track and field.
— 2022 Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list
— 2022 Jim Thorpe Award watch list
— Birthday 04/16/2001 (age 21)
— Three-star recruit out of high school

Tape Breakdown

When looking at safeties you don’t find too many that look like Skinner. He is long and very lean especially below the waist. However, he plays with good physicality especially against the run.

Against the pass, he was used on the boundary side of the field (the short side). Most of the time, he was used in two deep coverages and occasionally in single high looks when they went to Man coverage. Before the snap, you can see him in constant communication with teammates to try to get everyone on the same page. He has solid route awareness and plays with good depth. In Dime packages, he was used in the underneath Zone in the curl/flat area or middle of the field. He did well playing downhill on underneath routes, screen and running backs out of the backfield.

At Oregon State, Skinner (0) is in near side box. He displays good awareness picking up the crossing route from the other side and comes away with the interception.

At Oregon State, on the far side he will sniff out the screen and get through the traffic to make a quick stop.

Here are a couple plays from near the line of scrimmage. Against Fresno State, he reads and attacks the swing pass making a nice play. Against BYU, he is in Zone and catches the errant pass with a solid return.


At Wyoming, he jumps the route of the inside receiver beating him to the spot and making a nice play on the ball.

Against the run, he is a willing participant not only to make tackle but to execute his role. From the deep safety, he is decisive when coming downhill and is a good tackler using his length and strength to wrap up ball carriers. When in the box on the edge, he will take on tight ends or pulling lineman to set the edge and force the ball back inside. He is willing to fill gaps inside, can get low and displays good physicality versus ball carriers.

Vs San Diego State, here are a couple of plays of him showing his physicality coming downhill against the run.

Here are some more examples against the run. He is a good tackler in space and an asset in the box.

In the passing game, he doesn’t have the range to play consistently as a single high safety. When playing in the slot or outside he is a liability due to his change of direction and acceleration to stay with receivers. In a Man coverage, scheme he would be very limited. When taking on blocks, he struggles to get off blocks and hold his ground. When coming downhill or on runs to the outside he will get too deep with his angles allowing cut back lanes.

Here are a couple examples against the run. Vs BYU, he is spying the QB and gets too far outside allowing the cut back and big gain. Give him credit for not giving up on the play. At Wyoming, he doesn’t square up getting to the hole leaving him diving and missing on the tackle.


Overall, Skinner is a long, lean safety with solid speed. In college, he was used primarily as a deep split safety to the boundary side and in the box. He is a good tackler in space and against the run. He can get low versus ball carriers and wraps up well. When taking on blocks he uses his hand solidly and executes well as the force player funnel the ball inside.

He is not a fit to play a lot of Man coverage in the slot or outside especially on wide receivers. When playing deep, he should not be used as the single high safety. Improving on getting off blocks would be a benefit. When coming downhill, he will take angles to the runner that leaves him at a disadvantage.

In the NFL, he would best fit in a Zone heavy scheme playing closer to the line of scrimmage more often than in a deep alignment. I think he can be used in trail Man coverage with help over the top. This would force QB’s to throw over that 6’4” frame and give him more opportunities to make a play on the ball. He is at his best near the line of scrimmage.

Finding a complimentary player based on his measurables is not that common. Most safeties aren’t built like him. Carolina safety Jeremy Chinn is of similar size but is more versatile. Kam Chancellor would be a closer comp being a box safety, good tackler with some coverage limitations.

Projection: Third Round

Depot Draft Grade:  7.6 Potential Starter/Good Backup

Games Watched: 2022 – At Oregon State, Vs San Diego State, Vs Fresno State, Vs BYU, At Wyoming

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