Derwin James NFL Draft 2018: Scouting Report for Los Angeles Chargers' Pick

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterApril 27, 2018

Florida State defensive back Derwin James celebrates an interception with was ruled down in the second half of an NCAA college football game against North Carolina State in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. NC State defeated Florida State 27-21. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
Mark Wallheiser/Associated Press

POSITIVES

—A dominant all-around defensive weapon and an excellent and unquestioned leader in a locker room full of Alpha types.

—Has range and power as a tackler. He understands timing, angles and how to best initiate contact with the ball-carrier.

—In coverage, he can line up across from tight ends, backs or even wide receivers and uses his different traits to stay in phase.

—Is able to play any defensive back position and has experience lining up in the box against spread fronts.

—Is the defensive answer to bigger, faster, stronger athletes playing wide receiver and tight end.

—Can be dangerous as a blitzer and will make splash plays in the backfield.

              

NEGATIVES

—Was timid at times in 2017 against the run (see Louisville game) and must let loose more often and trust his athleticism.

—Didn't flash ball skills at FSU, which could be attributed to scheme or a lack of awareness.

—Was able to jump routes because he's athletic enough to recover. Will have to be more disciplined in the NFL.

Scouts told us they thought he was protecting his draft stock in 2017 by avoiding contact.

            

OVERALL

Derwin James is a special athlete at safety who has the instincts to end up at cornerback in some schemes. His career at FSU may not have lived up to prep expectations, but James showed at the end of 2017 when he was fully healthy just how special he can be when unleashed to make plays.

    

GRADE: 7.15 (Round 1)

PRO COMPARISON: Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs

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