INDIANAPOLIS — Florida State’s Derwin James knows where he want’s to go in the 2018 NFL draft, and he’s not afraid to let people know.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, James made a guarantee that he would be going in the top 10 of April’s draft.
“I’m going top 10. I know I’m going top 10,” James said. “I’ll play for anybody.”
One popular destination for James in mock drafts this offseason is the Dallas Cowboys, owners of the No. 19 pick in the first round. James had a prediction for Dallas too.
“I don’t think I”m going to go that late,” James said. “I feel like once come out and show people what I can do, once I get done with all these meetings, I feel like they’ll have to trade up to get me.”
How popular is James to the Cowboys? Someone already mocked him up in a Cowboys jersey.
James started all 12 games of the 2017 season after tearing the lateral meniscus in his left knee in Week 2 of the 2016 season and missing the remainder of the year. But as a redshirt sophomore last season he had 84 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions and 11 pass breakups. He landed on multiple All-American teams.
James has been renowned for his ability to play all over the field on Florida State’s defense. That included playing traditional safety, in the slot, blitzing from the edge and as a linebacker.
He said NFL teams have mostly talked to him about playing safety or slot cornerback where he can cover man-to-man and blitz. As James put it, team’s told him he “plays great” in man-to-man coverage. Florida State lined up him at both positions, and even some as a linebacker.
“They moved me around a lot. I can do it all,” James said. “I can play deep, I can cover a No. 2 (wide receiver), I can cover the tight end, I can play in the box, I can blitz. Whatever you need.”
But if a team wants that type of versatility — and confidence — they just might have to trade up to get him.