In 2017, James totaled 84 tackles with 11 passes batted and two interceptions. He was able to display good instincts and rare combination of size, speed, physicality and versatility.
For the NFL, James fits as a strong safety who is a tough eighth defender in the box. Some team sources feel that James is not a good fit as a deep center fielder. They think he has some coverage limitations as a free safety, but should be able to play man against tight ends. They don't think he is a fit to play nickel corner and cover slot receivers. One area scout thought James could end up adding weight and grow into being a Will linebacker, similar to Mark Barron.
While James didn't have a flawless performance against Alabama, it was good overall with six tackles and .5 sacks. Except for a missed tackle on a 70-yard touchdown run, James played well against N.C. State. He was dynamic on special teams, including having a kick return for a touchdown called back. Against Syracuse, James snatched his second career interception and could have had three more, including some drops.
Prior to the 2017 eason, scouting sources said that they had James as an overall top-three talent for the 2018 NFL Draft - regardless of position. Sources from around the league feel that James is a stud defender who has transcendent ability for what he can do for a defense.
Entering the 2016 season, there was hype that James was an elite player and perhaps the best defensive player in college football. James totaled 11 tackles through two games in 2016 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. As a freshman in 2015, James had a strong debut with 91 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, four passes broken up, two forced fumbles and zero interceptions. He has a great athletic skill set.
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