Bengals keeping close eye on safety Derwin James

ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 05: Derwin James
ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 05: Derwin James /

Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Teryl Austin attended Florida State Pro Day and talked with safety Derwin James.

The Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and defensive line coach Jacob Burney made their way down to Tallahassee for the Florida State Seminoles’ pro day. The biggest name coming out of Florida State is safety Derwin James who was seen being drafted by the Bengals in numerous mock drafts before the trade with the Buffalo Bills pushing them back to pick number 21. It’s likely that James would be gone by then as he is one of the top defenders in the 2018 class.

James hauled in 84 combined tackles, 2 interceptions, and 11 pass deflections in 2017 for the Seminoles. He’s an extremely versatile safety that can play anywhere along the defense and make an impact. Versatile safeties are becoming a high demand in the NFL in recent years being asked to do more and more each season. James could be exactly what this Bengals defense needs in multiple areas.

Neither of Cincinnati’s safeties has proven to be playmakers. James could also be a help at the beginning of the season if linebacker Vontaze Burfict sits out his suspension for the first four games. His ability to play inside the box as a hybrid linebacker would cushion the fall off of Burfict not being on the field alongside newly acquired linebacker Preston Brown.

Other members worth noting at the Florida State pro day were defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi and linebacker Matthew Thomas.

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The Bengals could still move up in the draft coupling some of their 11 draft picks if they really wanted to go after James. There’s no reason for Cincinnati to hold onto all of their picks so why not trade some of them and move up to get a guy they love? Depending on how far they would have to move up and how much it would cost, it could be a good move bringing in James to a defense that lacked turnovers and playmakers in 2017.