Derwin James: 2018 NFL Draft Prospect

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Derwin James School Page:Florida State Seminoles

Position: Safety

College: Florida State

Height: 6-3

Weight: 212

40 Time: 4.52


  • 2015: Third Team All-ACC, Honorable Mention All-American, Freshman All-American
  • 2016: Missed 11 games with torn meniscus

NFL Draft Board Analysis:

Highest pick on the NFL Draft Board:

Right now, Derwin James is projected with an outside chance to be drafted in the top five of the 2018 NFL Draft. With missing almost all of the 2016 season, NFL teams want to take a close look at his 2017 season. If he shows improvement from his freshman year, some team will draft him in the top five.

Most likely destination from the NFL Draft Board:

It is too early to have a destination for Derwin James. But James’ physique (6-3 212) offers a lot to any NFL team picking high in the draft. Teams picking high in the first round usually have a lot of draft needs. The beauty of James is that he can play all over the defense, from free safety to edge rusher. It usually benefits a team picking in the top five, coming off a 2-14 season, to trade away their draft choice so they can build depth. James can fill in at different positions and provide depth all by himself.

The other danger that comes with a top five pick is that they play out as a solid first round draft choice, but not an impact player. Top five picks need to come in and provide instant impact (with the exception of quarterbacks). With James, an NFL team can either plug James in at a leaky position, or play him where he can change the team’s entire defensive character.

Comparative position ranking on the NFL Draft Board:

I placed James at free safety on the NFL Draft Board. But, as I indicated earlier, nailing down James’ exact position is challenging. That said, James is the one and only free safety on the NFL Draft Board as of this posting. Pitt Panther, Jordan Whitehead, is the only other safety on the NFL Draft Board and he is posting at the bottom of the first round right now. Currently, any team needing immediate help at safety will look to draft Derwin James.



  • Derwin James missed the last 11 games of 2016 with torn meniscus. NFL teams will dive into his medical records before spending a top 5 pick on Derwin James.
  • Considered an early Heisman Trophy candidate for 2017.
  • Can play free safety, strong safety, linebacker, or edge rusher.
  • While Christian Kirk is a versatile offensive player, his size holds him back from the top picks in the NFL Draft. Derwin James on the other hand at 6-3, 211 provides the frame, and versatility, NFL teams are looking for. NFL teams can utilize a quick athletic NFL size body all over the defense.
  • Good instinctive football player. With great film study or natural instincts, seems to know where the ball is going on most plays. Some trouble with execution.
  • Can get lost in traffic, and stuck on a block.
  • Needs to play to the whistle on every play.
  • On pass rush, his first move is to gather himself. Needs to start with more knee bend.
  • Needs to play with more knee bend in general. Tackling suffers from lack of knee bend sometimes. James has gotten out over his feet and lunged in a one on one in the past.
  • Needs some help from coaches on pass rushing. It seems he relies solely on this athletic ability.
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2 Replies to “Derwin James: 2018 NFL Draft Prospect”

  1. I will tell you right now that your criticisms of Derwin James could not be further from reality. In order, James does not get lost on blocks or does so as infrequently as any player in college football. In fact, because of his natural feel for the game, he is able to play out of position so frequently that he avoids blocks simply by being where nobody expects him to be. And if it was a stat, I would bet money that no current college football player has a closer average proximity to the ball at the whistle than Derwin. It’s literally every play, he either makes the tackle, dives into the pile or is with the pack right outside the play. I have no idea where you get the play to the whistle stuff, couldn’t be more than a play or two. Finally, you say he need more knee bend 3 times. Derwin James personally says that is a made up phrase you are regurgitating. Hell, knee bend cost him 11 games last year. If he needs anything it’s a better defensive coordinator and the ball in his hands more!

    1. Derwin James is currently ranked 4th on the NFL Draft Board. Do you see him going 4th or higher in 2018? I will bet lower.

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