It was only fitting that Dicaprio Bootle ran a 4.38 40 yard dash at the Husker Pro Day because his speed is what caught the Huskers attention of Mike Riley’s staff at a satellite camp in South Florida. From there Bootle has gone on to be a multi year starter at cornerback and now will be the sole defender from the 2020 team to take his chance at the NFL. Listed below is his scouting report heading into the draft. If you missed my previous scouting reports on Dedrick Mills, Brendan Jaimes and Matt Farniok the links are provided.
Hand: 8 1/2”
Wingspan: 74 1/4“
Trait Grade: 6.4/10 (Average)
Projection Grade: 6.0/10 (Depth Player)
Projection: Late Round / Undrafted Free Agent
- Versatile defensive back that can play corner or safety
- Shows the ability to play the ball in the air
- Good speed allows him to run with receivers or fly up to make a play
- Displays the quickness to react and recover
- Willing to stick his nose in to make a tackle
- Inconsistent instincts that cause him to be out of position when playing man coverage
- Can be overwhelmed by blockers and taken out of plays
- Not overly fluid hips which can allow a bit of separation on in and out breaking routes
- Bigger receivers can seal him off and prevent him from being in a position to break up a pass.
- Size is below average for both a corner or safety
Athletically Dicaprio Bootle has everything that you want out of a defensive back. His 4.38 speed shows up on tape as he’s able to run with receivers down the field or to react forward to close the gap. Bootle also uses his quickness to flip his hips in press man coverage or respond to defenders in front of him. Combining his athleticism along with his toughness allows him to come forward and make tough tackles while also having a knack for playing the ball in the air. That’s evident in his 15 pass breakups during his sophomore year not only led the Big Ten but also tied a Husker record.
Where Bootle has had his biggest struggles comes with his instincts. Too often Bootle tries to guess or just puts himself into a bad spot which then allows the receiver to get open. That was the case against Northwestern that I highlighted in my Scouting Perspective article.
I’ve always thought that Bootle had a shot to be drafted based on his ball production and physical traits. Having experience playing both safety and corner should help Bootle as I feel his best position in the NFL will be at hybrid safety who will cover receivers in the slot.
Bootle could hear his name drafted in the sixth or seventh rounds, but more than likely he’ll be an undrafted free agent. Don’t be surprised if Bootle has a career similar to former Husker Joshua Kalu who has carved out a nice niche as a versatile defensive back off the bench who has a key role on special teams.