As former Florida State Seminole Derwin James prepares for the NFL Draft, the speculation will continue as to where he will be picked.
James, who preseason was considered a top 10 and possibly top 5 pick at times, has now in some mock drafts is fallen in the 17-20 range.
But why is James falling? There is no clear-cut answer.
Yes, he missed most of his sophomore season due to injury. James came back and performed nicely in 2017. According to Pro football focus, he once again led all safeties with a 92.0 overall grade consisting of the No. 2 grade both as a pass-rusher and in coverage. He also added the No. 15 grade against the run according to P.F.F.
Now, over at NDT Scouting, they recently compared James and Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick
— NDT Scouting LLC (@NDTScoutingLLC) February 7, 2018
They both agreed that both athletes are chess pieces that can move around the defense if needed. They also agreed Fitzpatrick is better in the pass and man to man game.
Derwin can separate himself from Fitzpatrick and other safeties. That is he will help your defense in the box vs. the run, but he can also be a menace in zone coverage. James also showed at FSU he can attack the quarterback from all angles and be used as a “spy” when needed.
James will need to answer some questions at the next level, mainly in deep coverage, where Fitzpatrick has him beat right now.
A lot of analysts are comparing James to Kam Chancellor of Seattle who could be the perfect comparison. Another player you could give to James is Landon Collins of the Giants.
Coming out of Alabama, Collins was compared to Johnathan Cyprien, but he has exceeded that comparison now. They said Collins was his best when he could attack rather than sit back in coverage, just like some are saying about James.
But, a look at Collins 2016 breakout season and you see flashes in James tape that make you believe he could be the kind of player Collins has grown into.
The NFL Scouting Combine and the FSU “pro day” will be big for Derwin James. The “athletic freak” can show off some of those intangibles and shoot back up draft boards.
The only way you can stop these high powered offenses is with hybrid defensive players, and schemes that can be great for multiple jobs.
In an ever-changing league, James fits the mold in today’s NFL: quick, strong, and versatile.
A creative defensive coordinator will get the most out of James’ skillset and could leave other teams wishing they made a move on draft day years from now.
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