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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: D.J. James (CB – Auburn)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: D.J. James (CB – Auburn)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Auburn cornerback D.J. James.

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: D.J. James

D.J. James (CB – Auburn)

6’1” – 164 lbs.

Background:

Three-star recruit who originally attended Oregon. Rotated in a little bit for the first two seasons of his tenure there, then stepped into a starting role the next year after serving a short suspension following an arrest for an incident involving shooting airsoft guns at bystanders. On the year, allowed 30/57 passing (52.6%) for 380 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and five breakups. Transferred to Auburn the following year and allowed 24/59 passing (40.7%) for 299 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and six breakups. Quarterbacks went 32-for-52 (61.5%) for 385 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions and 10 breakups this year.

Positives:

Tall, long-limbed corner with three years of starting experience between two major programs. Often lines up in press looks and will often bail out into high zones; looks like Auburn had him as the field side corner. Has some of the quickest feet in this year’s class, and does a good job of matching releases at the line from press. Backpedal looks clean. Good knee-bend and balance. Looks fast getting to depth in zone. Easy backpedal from off coverage. Smooth accelerator with easy speed to carry receivers down the sidelines. Uses his hands well to stay connected in man. Trusts his speed and avoids getting too floaty when working in man; plays shallow crosses and overs tight. Does a good job of keeping things in front of him in zone. Got his hands on a lot of throws this past year, especially given the team’s conservative coverage approach. Willing to come up and defend the run. Attacks blocks with aggression. Has been a relatively reliable tackler, especially given his frame.

Negatives:

Has a very thin frame and will likely be asked to add some additional bulk and functional strength. Contact balance issues crop up, and can get the worst of it when he’s trying to be physical and disrupt receivers. Angles in run support can be overly aggressive. Kind of an ankle-grabber who lacks stopping power. Will need to answer questions about his 2021 suspension.

Summary:

A three-year starter who’s one of the quickest, fastest corners in this year’s class, and who has more impressive length than usual for someone with his athletic profile. Could conceivably serve in either a man-based defense or one which uses more of the high zones Auburn liked running, although he’ll probably need to develop his functional strength a bit more to avoid being bullied by bigger, stronger pro receivers. Looks poised to come off the board some time on the second day of the draft.

Projection: Round 2-3

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