In this 2018 NFL Draft profile, we analyze the strengths, weaknesses, and whether or not safety Derwin James, out of Florida State University, is a fit for the New York Jets.
A Florida State product, safety Derwin James left an everlasting impact on the Seminole football program. As a Freshmen, James quickly manifested as one of the best safeties in college football, finishing his rookie season as a Seminole, with 91 tackles, 4.5 sacks, five pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
With much anticipation for his sophomore campaign, James appeared to live up to expectations with a stout season opener performance against Ole Miss, where he recorded eight tackles and an interception. Unfortunately, the young safety products season was cut short after suffering a lateral meniscus tear during Week 2 of the 2016 season.
With expectations skyrocketing for the third-year safety, James once again performed at a top-tier level finishing 2017 with 84 tackles, two interceptions, 11 pass breakups, a sack and a blocked kick. A tall, lengthy safety standing at 6’3″ and weighing 215 pounds, James now feasts his eyes on the grandest stage of them all, the 2018 NFL Draft.
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Has a desired safety frame teams look for. Stands at 6’3″. Tremendous speed. A positive locker room influence. Versatile athlete. Solid vision when it comes to the run. Has a good eye when it comes to tracking down the running back. Never quits on a play. Extremely physical. Plays all over the field. Good burst of speed once a play ignites. Tackle machine. Loves stripping the ball from opposing players. Plays in tight coverage. Doesn’t let his opponents get too far from him. Great getting to the quarterback for tackles and sacks in blitz packages.
Needs to improve vision. Tends to lose sight of the quarterback when in coverage. Plays a little too high up on receivers. Played in only 26 college games. Takes a lot of contact in games. Already comes into the NFL with a torn meniscus. Tends to play flat-footed. Scouts are concerned about his medical history entering the league.
Overall, James is a projected first-round talent safety in this year’s draft. With only two full seasons of college ball under his belt, James still has a lot to learn but comes with a tremendous locker room attitude and potential as high as the sky.
James has been compared to fellow safeties such as Jamal Adams and Eric Berry. In conclusion, James will without a doubt find a new home on day one of the NFL Draft. It’s unfortunate that it won’t be for the Jets since they are already stacked at the position with above average talent.