Preseason 2023 3-round mock draft for the Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills second round selection in 2023 mock draft
The Pick: JL Skinner, Safety Boise State
Measurables: 6-4, 220lbs
The Buffalo Bills have yet to re-sign Jordan Poyer to a new contract, and as that saga may run into the season, it is reasonable to look at what the Bills could do if that contract never comes. While Micah Hyde is getting older, he at least will have to spend another year in Buffalo. Behind the All-Pro duo at the moment are Damar Hamlin and Jaquan Johnson, who is in a contract year. While those guys have shown promise, there will be a significant question mark due to the lack of their gameday experience at safety. While they could easily both potentially win a battle to start opposite Hyde, the Buffalo Bills could still invest in the position.
Unlike any safety on the Bills roster, JL Skinner is almost modern NFL linebacker size. He brings the sort of frame and physicality non-existent in the Bills’ secondary. Skinner brings not only one of the most unique athletic profiles to the safety position, but he also has excellent awareness. He is quick and instinctive and not afraid to always play at full speed.
At Boise State, Skinner has been lined up all over the field while playing safety. He often is seen in the slot or close to the line of scrimmage as a de facto linebacker. This sort of versatility would give Leslie Frazier a ton of options in the secondary.
We already see some creativity with Poyer lining up in unique spaces and even doing things rushing the passer (Poyer has ten career sacks with the Bills). Skinner can do all the things Poyer does well. The only question is can he do them at the level Poyer is? I bet that initially, he won’t, but that’s okay.
Where Skinner will excel and potentially exceed expectations is the closer he gets to the line of scrimmage. However, on the defense’s back end, Skinner is not ready to be relied on at a high level. While he has shown flashes of solid coverage skills, he is best patrolling the center of the field right underneath a deep zone as an “enforcer.” Luckily for Buffalo, this gels well with Micah Hyde’s ability to play that sort of center field type of single high zone that is so difficult to master in the NFL.
Skinner brings a unique size and athleticism to the Buffalo Bills and a wide range of skills. Skinner may be a jack of all trades master of none type of talent, but there is no reason to think that with his current traits, he won’t be able to develop at least a couple of elite traits.