The Washington Redskins should draft Derwin James if they value upside over immediate returns.
The Washington Redskins’ championship window is fleeting, but by signing a high-upside talent in Derwin James, they can increase the duration of that window, little by little. If the choice comes down to Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James at No. 13, it’s hard not to turn down James’ prospective upside.
It’s also worth noting that this NFL Draft class is very deep at defensive line and running back. So, to maximize value, the Washington Redskins could take James, a surefire game changer at the next level, in Round 1, and they could still find future starters at the other two positions in later rounds.
This isn’t to say that Minkah Fitzpatrick won’t live up to James’ standards in the NFL. Fitzpatrick is widely viewed as a player with a floor as a perennial Pro Bowler, and a ceiling as a perennial All-Pro. But Derwin James, with his size and physical talents as an athlete, can achieve all those accolades in little time, with some development. And he could provide a greater, more dynamic impact on the field.
Of course, this is like comparing a Mercedes to a Maserati. One is going to be a little more smooth, and a little more refined. And the other is going to get a bit less gas mileage. But they are both cars you wouldn’t mind having one bit. The difference between James and Fitzpatrick is slim, and with how subjective opinions are in draft season, that difference can be considered within the margin for error.
James and Fitzpatrick are both players with All-Pro ceilings in the NFL, but because of his size, his speed, his dynamic ability, and his potential, matched by only a few before his time, Derwin James might be the better prospect by a hair, for a Washington Redskins team looking for that spark plug in the secondary.