James spends Florida State's Pro Day mostly on sidelines

(AP Photo/Joe Reedy)

By JOE REEDY

Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Derwin James considers himself one of the best players in this year's NFL draft and during Florida State's Pro Day the safety made a calculated decision.

He surprised many by not doing any position drills on Tuesday.

James, who is one of the top safeties in the draft, only did the three-cone drill and shuttle runs. He spent the rest of the day lightly tossing the football around and chatting with teammates.

After the workouts, James said he acted on the advice of his agent, David Mulugheta.

"It kind of shocked me because I wanted to do it and was 100 percent healthy," James said. "I was kind of mad but he told me what was best. I hired him for a reason and I trust him."

James was one of the top defensive backs in the 40-yard dash (4.47 seconds), vertical leap (40 inches) and broad jump (11 feet) during the NFL Scouting Combine. Most prospects stand on their combine performances during pro day but do participate in position drills.

"I've proved everything I can prove," James said, adding if a team wants "to see a private workout, I can do that."

Last season James had 84 tackles, which was second on Florida State, two interceptions (including a return for a touchdown) and one sack after missing most of 2016 with a knee injury. He also was a second-team, AP All-America selection.

Less than a week after Jimbo Fisher announced he was resigning as Florida State's coach to accept the same job at Texas A&M, James announced he was declaring for the draft and would not participate in the Seminoles' bowl game.

James is trying to become the third FSU defensive back since 2013 to be selected in the first round. Xavier Rhodes went 25th overall to Minnesota in 2013 and Jalen Ramsey was the fifth overall pick by Jacksonville in 2016.

Ramsey made the trip back to his alma mater for pro day and was joking around with James before workouts started.

"It means a lot to see Jalen out here because he was in the same position that I was two years ago and I am trying to do the same thing," James said. "We have the two best corners in the NFL. There are a lot of great schools but Florida State is the best for defensive backs. We don't just cover, we tackle."

James will be at Cowboys Stadium when the first round takes place on April 26. He said he received an invitation from the league, which usually goes to the top 10-15 prospects.

Besides James, cornerback Tarvaus McFadden, defensive end Josh Sweat and defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi could hear their names called in the first three rounds.

Sweat, who played with heavy brace on his left knee throughout his collegiate career, has shed it and said that "I feel free now."

During the combine, Sweat ran a 4.53 in the 40, which was one of the top times among edge rushers. Sweat wore the brace after dislocating his knee and tearing his ACL as a senior in high school.

"I did end up starting as a freshman but I probably could've used a redshirt," Sweat said. "I probably would've had a much better college career as far as stats and stuff."

Kansas City was the only NFL team that did not have a scout or assistant coach at the workouts.

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Updated March 20, 2018