JL Skinner lands with the Jacksonville Jaguars in Football Outsiders NFL Mock Draft
Safety isn't among the Jacksonville Jaguars' top needs ahead of the 2023 NLF Draft but that doesn't mean they should outright neglect the position. In fact, Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders believes Boise State's JL Skinner III would be a solid pickup in the second round.
Just days before the draft, Tanier released his final three-round mock and has the Jags taking Skinner with the 56th overall pick, noting that general manager Trent Baalke likes the kind of prospects with his versatility.
"JL Skinner is the kind of fun-to-watch straight-line space defender who either becomes his coordinator's favorite multitool or proves nearly worthless; I lean toward the former, and Baalke likes that sort of prospect."
A three-star recruit out of high school, Skinner was 2022 First-Team All-Mountain West Conference and Second-Team the year before. At 6'4" and 218 pounds, the San Diego, California native has outstanding athleticism for his size. Also, he's an exceptional downhill tackler that thrives in zone coverage.
Although Skinner might struggle against receivers in man coverage and must do a better job of recognizing plays, Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell could take advantage of his versatility to play different roles and deploy him in creative ways.
Tanier also has the Jags taking Florida offensive guard O'Cyrus Torrence in the first round and Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta in the third. Both picks would fill needs for the Jags and both of them have previously mocked/linked to Jacskonville, so it wouldn't be surprising to watch Baalke draft either one (or both).
Should the Jacksonville Jaguars target JL Skinner in Round 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft?
Skinner is expected to be drafted in the third or fourth round, so it was a bit odd seeing Tanier projecting him to Jacksonville. Having said that, every NFL club assesses prospects differently and who's to say the former Boise State Bronco doesn't have a second-round grade on the Jags' draft board?
The Jaguars seem to have set their sights on Alabama defensive back Brian Branch but if they miss out on him and go with Torrence or an edge rusher such as Myles Murphy or Nolan Smith, Skinner would then become an intriguing pick in Round 2.
The Jaguars don't have a pressing need at safety with Andre Cisco and Rayshawn Jenkins firmly entrenched at the top of the depth chart. Moreover, the team's brass brought back reserve Andrew Wingard on a three-year deal. However, the coaching staff could find ways to use Skinner, who logged 399 snaps in the slot at Boise over the last three seasons.
Although the Jags may prefer to draft a more traditional slot cornerback, Skinner's size and versatility make him an intriguing prospect to target. And if the front office believes he can develop into a playmaker in their secondary, it might not matter if they take him in the second or third round.