Derwin James, Florida State: 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report


Florida State’s Derwin James is a well-known prospect who has the potential to be a do-everything defender at the next level.

Derwin James possesses a rare combination of size, length and explosiveness. He has the raw talent that makes evaluators drool. James also features the feel for the game needed to routinely make impact plays.

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Florida State uses him all over the fielding lining him up in the slot, deep safety and near the line of scrimmage. From these different alignments James is asked to fulfill multiple duties.

He has experience playing man coverage out of the slot where he shows the balance and quickness to keep in phase. In deep zone coverage, James shows the ability to read the quarterback and burst to click and close on the football.

His hands and ability to high point the football makes him an asset in contested situations. This is an important skill because of how many contested catches are make in the NFL.

James is an aggressive run defender who makes reliable tackles with some pop. He also shows the awareness to attempt to strip the football. Florida State will use James a as blitzer off the edge where he shows a knack for creating pressure.

He even has the feel to get his hands up for a batted ball. James is a truly versatile defender who will be a chess piece for a defensive coordinator.

His athletic profile means that there is still some room for him to grow as a player. He has that explosive burst and quick-twitch ability that helps him cover a ton of ground. James should be an early 1st round pick based on his previous production and upside.