If we were to go back in time to 2015 Noles Freshman Derwin James was “the next big thing.”
He blazed onto the scene at Florida State, and had scouts eager for him to get to his junior year so they could get their hands on him.
A year later FSU and James generated lots of hype. He even had a terrific game in the opener against Ole Miss. Sadly, a knee injury derailed his sophomore season before it ever began a week later. He later had knee surgery that ended his season.
Coming into 2017, James had to prove that he was still the same player he was pre-injury. He needed to show he was still one of the best defensive players in the 2015 recruiting class.
He had 84 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and two interceptions. Numbers that made him a second-team AP All-American.
The critics were still out after one missed tackle vs. N.C. State on a key TD pass. The “Sky was falling”and people said he couldn’t tackle.
Coming into the NFL Combine, many of the Draft analysts had him going middle to late first round. Some were wondering which Derwin James we would see workout. James may have re-confirmed everyone’s expectations on him with an excellent combine performance. Take a look at the highlights:
— NFL (@NFL) March 6, 2018
The “Freak” and versatile safety recorded a 40-yard dash of 4.47 seconds (ninth-best among combine safeties) at 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, along with a 40-inch vertical jump (sixth-best of all DBs) and an 11-foot broad jump (fifth-best among DBs).
Compared to other top safety Minkah Fitzpatrick of Alabama clocked in a 4.46 40-yard dash, with a 33-inch vertical jump and a 10-1 broad jump.
James also was able to impress scouts during positional skills. He may have scouts thinking he just may have the skills to be a big corner at times or be thrown into the box as a hybrid linebacker.
This performance by James could easily propel him back to the top 15 of the draft. And he still has a Pro Day workout coming up, too.
Depending on who selects him, will tell us more about how he will be used at the next level.
A defensive mastermind would love to have the player like what we saw in Indianapolis on his roster.
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