Florida State’s Derwin James is expected to be one of the best defenders in the country, if not one of the best players overall, this season. The 6’3″, 211-pound redshirt sophomore played in only two games last season before suffering a serious knee injury. He redshirted the rest of the season and has been rehabbing all summer. However, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com thinks that James could become an even better version of Super Bowl champ and four-time Pro Bowler Kam Chancellor.
In his first look scouting report, Jeremiah said that James could be a better version of Chancellor and did not back down from his assessment at all.
” If he improves in that area [ball production], there’s no reason he can’t be viewed as an elite safety prospect. He has a unique physical skill set, which allows him to make plays all over the field. I like him best when he’s around the line of scrimmage.I think he could develop into a faster, more athletic version of Kam Chancellor. I know that’s high praise, but he has that type of ability.”
In 2015, James recorded 91 tackles (9.5 for loss, including 4.5 sacks), five passes defensed and two forced fumbles so if he can put up similar numbers with a few interceptions added to that total in 2017 there’s no reason to think that this prediction is out of the ball park.
James is already being talked about as a top safety prospect in the 2018 NFL Draft and has been mentioned as a potential Heisman contender. Assuming Florida State is competing for an ACC title and even a spot in the College Football Playoff, there’s no reason to think it won’t be because of stellar play from James.