A week from tomorrow, the 2014 NFL Draft will come to a close, and then the real madness begins as teams rush to sign undrafted free agents. One player the San Francisco 49ers might be interested in signing if he goes undrafted is cornerback Jocquel Skinner. I've heard some rumors, although nothing super specific, that the 49ers are interested in adding him to what should be a fierce competition in the secondary. Skinner has reportedly already worked out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Skinner spent his college years at Bethel University, which is an NAIA institution in Tennessee. For those that are not aware, the college football system is basically ranked FCS (D-1), FBS (D-1AA), Division 2, Division 3, NAIA. The 49ers already have an NAIA cornerback on their roster, former Belhaven Blazer Tramaine Brock. Belhaven and Bethel are actually both part of the Mid-South Conference. Belhaven beat Bethel 55-45, so I'd imagine there would be plenty of bragging rights to sort through!
Skinner made an appearance at the Tennessee Pro Day, and reportedly measured in at 6'04 (4/10, not 6'4) and 184 pounds. NFLDraftScout.com lists him at 6'1 and 1/10. Either way, he'd be the second tallest cornerback on the 49ers roster.
He ran a 4.49 40, did 7.01 in the 3-cone drill and posted 37 inches in the vertical jump, and 10'02" in the broad jump. Unfortunately, I cannot find his arm length, but those are some impressive numbers otherwise. His vertical jump would be tied for 13th among cornerbacks, while his broad jump would be tied for 15th. He has faced a lower level of competition in NAIA football, but he has a lot of the raw skills with which Ed Donatell could do some things.
Naturally, scouting reports are a bit difficult to come by. I found some video of college highlights I've posted below.
The Jackson Sun had an article about small school Tennessee players and how they were working to get a shot in the NFL. Skinner told the Sun he did not anticipate getting drafted, but figured there was still a chance at a late round pick.
From what I've heard, his measureables could make him a popular UDFA prospect. The 49ers could roll the dice that he'll want to sign with them, but another option is to grab him with a late round pick to guarantee he'll be in camp with them. The 49ers are likely looking at cornerbacks higher up in the draft, but I have to think they'll add at least a couple UDFAs and/or late round picks to add into the mix.
Undrafted free agents are looking for the best situation for themselves. For cornerbacks, the 49ers offer an excellent coach in Ed Donatell, and a pretty good situation in terms of opportunities. They've got plenty of veterans competing, but the right young guy could still emerge over some of the existing players. And even if not, the 49ers practice squad is not exactly the worst place for a young player to learn the game.