2018 NFL Draft Big Board: Ranking the Top 10 Prospects

ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 05: Derwin James
ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 05: Derwin James /
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4. Derwin James, DB, Florida State

Derwin James is a versatile defensive back who figures to fill multiple roles on defense. Florida State looks to foster his versatility by allowing him to work different parts of the field. James is the type of playmaker defensive coordinators covet.

The first thing that jumps off the screen is his overall athleticism. He features a rare combination of size and quickness. This allows him to both play in deep coverage or work near the line of scrimmage.

In deep coverage, James shows the burst needed to cover sideline to sideline. He also shows the awareness to read the quarterback and adjust his movements. There’s no reason to doubt his ability to play centerfield on a full time basis.

The problem is that this would take away from his overall upside. James is equally as effective as a run defender and blitzer. He had a solid frame that helps him get physical near the line of scrimmage. His short-area gives him the ability to quickly close on the ball carrier.

That quickness is also what makes him an effective blitzer. James is a naturally talented player who also possesses the instincts needed to be a difference maker. He should be one of the first defenders selected in the 2018 NFL Draft.