James has all of the tools to become a game-changing playmaker at the next level. His size and athleticism allow him to make plays in coverage against the run and as a pass-rusher. All of James’ skills led to him becoming the nation’s top-graded safety in both 2015 and 2017. He can be a coverage weapon in a two-high safety look or in man coverage against tight ends and slot receivers, while his size allows him to be a force in the run game and to get after the quarterback.
STRENGTHS Absolute alpha in the locker room. Comes up to handle film sessions on weekends. When he talks, players listen. Hits all the height, weight, speed marks you want for an early-round safety. Extremely versatile weapon. Can be deployed anywhere on the field on any given snap. Rangy with ability to chase throws from deep middle. Quick to squeeze routes approaching his area of influence. Doesn’t just look to hit, he looks for the football once he ranges to the spot. Used in hybrid role near the line of scrimmage. Reliable in his fits and standing up to the run or peeling off and covering tight ends. Savvy blitzer with speed and athleticism to get home. Smooth, loose movement allows for coverage potential against big slots. Careful to leverage ball carriers to the sideline and won’t give away an inside cutback. Pursuit strides are fluid and powerful. Solid open-field tackler with reactive athleticism to handle late elusiveness.
WEAKNESSES Tends to play through a straw in high safety role. Needs balanced eyes. Gets locked in on receiver routes and loses sight of quarterback’s developing intentions. Slow reads lead to slow reactions. Waits a step too late to support over the top and can miss his window for help. Needs better anticipation in coverage. Can be too cautious in run support allowing runners to get up to him rather than taking it to them. Often absorbs contact flat-footed rather than initiating contact. Can improve pursuit angles. Despite his intensity, will still coast on some snaps. Has limited experience. Has played in just 26 college games. Has a torn ACL in his medical history.