Derwin James 2018 NFL Draft Profile
Derwin James is listed as a strong safety, but can and will play anywhere in the back seven. At Florida State, Derwin James has played both safety spots, base corner, nickel corner, linebacker, and has even rushed from the outside linebacker position on some occasions. His versatility while playing all these positions at a high level makes Derwin James one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2018 Draft. No matter where he’s lined up, James is a + tackler with + instincts. An excellent blitzer out of the slot. Always around the ball. Being around the ball is one thing, being around the ball with Derwin James’ ball skills is another. James has no problem getting his hands on the ball whether it’s forcing fumbles or defending passes. Along with all his physical and mental skills, James has a motor that doesn’t stop and is the definition of a sideline to sideline player.
James can be over aggressive in his pursuit sometimes which puts him in bad position to make some open field tackles. Will sometimes open his hips when squaring up with a ball carrier and have to lunge instead of wrapping up his man. He has tremendous ball skills, but has only one interception in his three years at Florida State. While I love his position flexibility, I wish he would settle in at one and find his perfect it. Has missed his fair share of games due to a knee injury. Keep an eye on that as the season progresses.
Derwin James is one of the easiest but hardest prospects to scout. It’s easy because he’s so good at everything he does. Need him to line up at safety? No problem. Corner? Also, no problem. Rush as a linebacker? Sure thing. But what does give me a little pause is how much he does for Florida State. Normally when you add so much to a 20 year old kids plate he doesn’t perfect one position well. At the next level, teams will probably have a plan for James, something similar to what the Arizona Cardinals do with the Honey Badger. For now, Derwin James is without a doubt a top five prospect.