2. Derwin James, safety, Florida State
Perhaps no defensive player in the nation faces as much pressure to live up to the hype as James, whom we highlighted as a dark horse Heisman candidate.
There’s no doubt James is worthy of all the expectations. As a freshman in 2015, he absolutely dominated every field he took en route to 91 tackles, 9.5 for a loss, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
A player who almost has enough size to slide into the box as a linebacker (6-foot-3, 211-pounds), James hits like a Mack truck and has tremendous instincts about where the ball is going. Last season before getting injured, he showed off his ball skills with a gorgeous interception.
Should James stay healthy and exhibit the same qualities that enticed us so much in his freshman campaign, then it’s not a stretch to say he will end up as a top-10 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.