Former FSU safety Derwin James was a No. 17 overall draft pick and his rookie season already has him as the best safety in the game.

Derwin James said he was going to be the best safety in the game before he was even drafted No. 17 overall by the Los Angeles Chargers.

In fact, he said it wasn’t going to take three years for him to be considered the best safety in the game.

Guess what? He was right. A team of NFL writers voted on the best defensive backs in the league.

They broke it down by cornerbacks and safeties and James finished No. 1 when all the votes were tallied.

That tweet was two months before he was drafted with several teams bypassing him and allowing him to slide to the No. 17 overall pick.

There were several teams with huge needs at safety that allowed him to slide too (Tampa Bay) coughs, coughs.

All they did was miss out on 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three interceptions and 16 passes defended.

The total package. Young. Huge. Productive. The 6-foot-2 enforcer couldn’t have had a more encouraging rookie season in 2018, teasing his sky-high potential with 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks and three picks. Graded out as PFF’s No. 5 safety, he’s still got lots of room to grow and figures to be the centerpiece of Los Angeles’ defense for years to come.


There were a couple of safeties that had a few more tackles overall, but James had the most passes defended among that group. He also had the most interceptions among the free safeties in the league.

He did all these things as a rookie so he’ll only get better with more experience in the Chargers’ defensive system. James continues the narrative that FSU football produces the best defense backs that go on to play in the NFL.

Xavier Rhodes (No. 10) and Jalen Ramsey (No. 2) appeared in the top 10 on the cornerback list. Lamarcus Joyner was among those notables that didn’t receive any votes on the top safeties list.

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Of course James, Rhodes and Ramsey were first round draft picks with Joyner being selected in the second round.