Brock Huard’s 2018 NFL Draft preview: Florida State S Derwin James

Apr 24, 2018, 2:04 PM | Updated: Apr 25, 2018, 9:27 pm
derwin james...
FSU's Derwin James has drawn comparisons to Chiefs' All Pro safety Eric Berry. (AP)

Each day, Brock Huard is profiling a different draft prospect that he considers an early-round possibility for the Seahawks. His draft previews continue with Florida State safety Derwin James. The audio is embedded above.

Seahawks’ biggest question marks for 2018: Part 1 | Part 2

Position: S
Height/weight: 6-2, 215
Class: R-So.
Hometown: Haines City, FL

Scouting report: James was a five-star recruit and a top-ranked safety nationally by the time he was a high school senior – but by then, he’d been a Florida State commit for years. Former Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher famously offered James a football scholarship when the latter was just a freshman in high school.

NFL analyst Lance Zierlein compares James to Chiefs’ All Pro safety Eric Berry. The 21-year-old tested off-the-charts at the NFL combine, and has the athleticism and work ethic that would make any GM consider him in the first round.

Brock’s take: “He reminds me of Shawn Springs. I played with Shawn Springs for a couple years, and I remember looking at him at times like, ‘Man, you put together a football player in his perfect form, I want those shoulders, I want that waist, I want that unbelievable athleticism, I want that low body fat, I want that twitch, I want that explosion.’ All of it is Derwin James. It’s why he blew the combine up at 6-2, 215. At 6-2, 215 he verticaled 40 inches. At 6-2, 215 he ran 4.47. That was faster than Earl Thomas ran at the combine. At 6-2, 215 he had a broad jump of 11 feet.

“There’s some of these guys that I see around college and pro football that get knicked up, and he got knicked up his second year when I was there and around him. And there’s some [players] that just pout, that just kind of whine and complain or go off and put sweats on. And there are others, like Luke Falk, that play through… there are others that you can see at practice and they’re injured, they’re right there, they want to be in, like Earl Thomas in minicamp when we’ve seen him in the past. That was Derwin James. That is why Jimbo [Fisher] loved him, that is why his D-coordinator loved him, that is why his teammates loved him. That is the kind of high character guy that you want in your building.

“Now, I’ll say this: some of the tape, it’s not always what I want to see. He was at 18 because I think that tape was like, there’s got to be more. Where is the Kam Chancellor intimidator? Where are the plays? You’ve got one defensive touchdown in three years. The tape doesn’t really resonate to everything that I just said, and it’s why when push comes to shove, QBs are going to get drafted, big D-tackles are going to get drafted, sometimes speedy guys get drafted, and here’s this safety that’s sitting there. And if he’s sitting there at No. 18, you’re going to be listening to everything I just said to you…  yet I can’t take him at 18.”

How he’d fit: The Seahawks have some question marks in the secondary, but the biggest holes remain on the defensive line. Remember, this team took four defensive backs in last year’s draft: CB Shaquill Griffin, S Delano Hill, S Tedric Thompson, and S Michael Tyson. And in a recent interview with Brock and Salk, Seahawks’ general manager John Schneider encouraged disheartened fans to “trust the process” and see what these young players have to offer (he cited Thompson, specifically, as a standout on special teams). Derwin James has a playing style and work ethic that Schneider and Pete Carroll would love – however, as the draft looms near, Seattle appears more likely to trade down. Meaning a player like James will be unavailable when they finally take the plunge.

See more 2018 NFL Draft profiles:

Georgia RB Sony Michel
UTSA DE Marcus Davenport
Stanford S Justin Reid
Boston College DE Harold Landry
Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey
LSU RB Derrius Guice
UTEP G Will Hernandez
UW DT Vita Vea
Alabama LB Rashaan Evans
Georgia RB Nick Chubb

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