Since the inception of the seven-round NFL Draft format, 28 Nebraska Cornhusker defensive backs have departed to the NFL. After a titanic career in Lincoln, will Nebraska cornerback Dicaprio Bootle add his name to the list in the 2021 NFL Draft?
Dicaprio Bootle NFL Draft Player Profile
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Nebraska
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 5’9 1/2″
- Weight: 180 pounds
Tony Pauline’s Dicaprio Bootle Scouting Report
Positives: Underrated cornerback with potential in dime packages at the next level. Quick to read and diagnose, stays with assignments, and tracks the pass in the air. Agile, stays on the receiver’s hip out of breaks, and displays a burst to the ball. Tracks the pass in the air, has a nice move to the throw, and battles to defend passes. Very effective facing the action. Fires up the field and gives effort defending screen passes.
Negatives: Not a stout tackler and has opponents running through his arms. Lack of height creates limitations. Displayed a lot of inconsistency throughout his Nebraska career.
Analysis: At the top of his game, Bootle is a feisty corner with solid ball skills who could be used in zone or backed off the line of scrimmage. Though he’s unlikely to be drafted, I would expect Bootle to compete for a roster spot next summer as both a dime back and special teams player.
Dicaprio Bootle Player Profile
Born and raised in Florida, Bootle played his high school football between Killan and Southridge High Schools. As a junior in 2014, he was part of a team that went 14-1 and took Killan to the state semifinals. While there, he displayed an incredible turn of speed as a standout track star. He ran a 10.64 100m and finished third in the state at the 200m (recording a personal-best 21.36 seconds).
His performances at Killan earned him a three-star rating from 247 Sports, who ranked him as the 129th-best recruit in the 2016 class. Furthermore, he was seen as a top-200 player in the state of Florida. Although early in-state offers came from FIU and UCF, plus several smaller-school offers, one team offered the chance to play Big Ten football. He attended a Nebraska camp, leading to an offer for the high school cornerback.
Bootle committed prior to a senior season that saw him shine for Southridge High School. The speedy cornerback racked up 64 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 3 forced fumbles as Southridge went 8-5 and made the second round of the Class 8A playoffs.
Bootle’s college football career at Nebraska
Arriving in Lincoln in 2016, the young Nebraska cornerback spent the season on the scout team and redshirted. Making his debut against Arkansas State the following year, he’d carve out a role in the secondary but also on special teams.
Displaying the versatility that could prove valuable in the 2021 NFL Draft, he actually made his first career start for the Cornhuskers as a safety against Ohio State. Demonstrating his ability to impact the game as a tackler, he logged his first tackle for loss against the Buckeyes.
Over the next two seasons, Bootle would become the standout in the secondary. He was named the Nebraska Defensive Back of the Year in consecutive seasons as he split 24 starts between cornerback and safety. A third-team All-Big Ten honoree in 2018, he set the second-highest pass breakup numbers in school history. His 15 breakups were the most since 2004.
Meanwhile, in 2019 Nebraska held opposing offenses to just 200.8 yards per game. Included in that were three games where they limited opponents to under 100 yards per game. Bootle also continued to be impactful as a tackler, logging 70 tackles and 2 forced fumbles between 2018 and 2019.
Despite his success, heading into his redshirt-senior season, one thing was missing off his résumé — an interception. Starting every game in 2020 — stretching his consecutive streak to 32 — the Nebraska cornerback finally secured a pick in the game against Iowa. He added another 5 pass breakups to his career totals while surpassing 100 career tackles.
Bootle’s senior season saw him earn an All-Big Ten honorable mention for the second straight season before declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Dicaprio Bootle’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
The Nebraska cornerback brings versatility, durability, and special-teams experience to the 2021 NFL Draft. His 4.45 40-yard dash time at the Cornhuskers Pro Day may not be the fastest out there, but it demonstrates he has the speed to play cornerback in the NFL. However, his diminutive stature and prior experience could see him carve out a role at safety instead. That full-time switch would also help utilize his ability as a tackler.
Some teams who need to address multiple positions in the secondary include the Las Vegas Raiders, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, and Dallas Cowboys. Bootle’s versatility could make him an attractive proposition for those teams.
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Oliver Hodgkinson is a staff writer for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.