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Ted’s Talk: Predicting DJ James’ rookie season

An overview of Seattle’s second sixth-round pick along with my predictions for his rookie season.

Massachusetts v Auburn Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks double-dipped in two separate ways with their selection of cornerback DJ James at No. 192 in the sixth round from Auburn University. Yes, you read that right, Seattle drafted two CBs from the same university in this class. James has played both inside and outside, but nickel might be his most direct route to making the final roster.

Athletic Profile/Comps

Relative Athletic Score (RAS)


According to RAS, James is an average athlete. He’s slight at only 175lbs with “very poor” agility scores but redeems himself a bit with a “great” speed score. His Mockdraftable spider graph is one of the weirdest I’ve seen and again magnifies his lack of overall size/length.

The best of the RAS comps is Jabari Greer, who carved out a 10-year NFL career after being an undrafted free agent.

Greer is a touch shorter than James with essentially identical speed and broad jump scores. This is probably as close as we’ll get in terms of the overall RAS score but there are some other ones I want to call out in a bit.

The Mockdraftable comps have quite a few interesting names, with two of them having direct ties to the 2024 Seahawks roster. Before we look at those, however, let’s explore the comp with Asante Samuel.

Samuel has a full slate of testing, unlike James. Samuel is shorter and heavier than James with lower 40-yard dash and broad jump scores. Samuel’s agility scores are much, much better than James. Overall, it’s still a pretty good athletic comp and another player who played for over a decade in the NFL.

Next, let’s compare James with Seahawks UDFA Carlton Johnson.

Somehow, Johnson has even worse agility scores than James! Johnson is also sub-175lbs but ran a 4.28 second 40, so that’s why he has a shot in training camp.

The last one from the Mockdraftable list I want to look at is Devon Witherspoon.

Without the agility scores, we won’t really know for sure…but the size and speed scores are quite close. So are the hand and arm measurements. Now, if James’ tape was like Spoon’s, he wouldn’t have been a sixth-round pick. It does maybe show the vision for James in the slot, however.

I found some interesting similarities with other current or former undersized Seahawks CBs too…

DJ Reed had elite agility, but James had the better long speed. Tre Brown’s comp surprised me because the speed was so close and Brown’s agility scores were also not that great.

Just for fun, let’s look at the two rookie Auburn CBs together.

Why do both of them have small hands and short arms?? Pritchett is a better overall athlete with more size, possibly explaining why he was drafted before James.

And because I did this in Pritchett’s article, I did one more RAS comp to be presented without comment.

Gut reaction to the pick

Another undersized corner and not a safety? From the same school as Pritchett?


Oh, he can play in the slot and back up Spoon?


Spoon was awesome as a nickel cornerback last season but was also awesome as an outside corner. If James can prove to be reliable in the slot, it could allow Spoon to be used wherever he’s needed and give Mike Macdonald even more flexibility.

Who would be the next man up at nickel anyway? Coby Bryant? Artie Burns? One of the safeties? There’s a spot for James to compete at the very least. Even though his agility scores weren’t very good at all, he still shows good feet and can stop quickly to break on the ball.

James will probably still be trained on the outside as well and it’s not like he’s a lost cause out there, either.

Like Seattle’s previous pick in the sixth round, OL Saotaoa Laumea, James was rated higher by many analysts than where he was selected. In fact, some of them had him higher than Pritchett. James performed well at the Senior Bowl, and you know how the Seahawks love them some Senior Bowl boys.

Rookie season prediction

As strange as it sounds, DJ James might actually have a clearer path to play time in 2024 than fellow CB draftee and former/current teammate Nehemiah Pritchett. The depth chart at nickel behind Devon Witherspoon is murky at best which gives James an opportunity to impress and earn snaps there, allowing Spoon to play more on the outside if needed. Cross-training James at both slot and outside – along with the club control on his rookie contract – should land him a spot on the final 53-man roster. He’ll have to play special teams, of course, but I think James will eventually be the primary backup at nickel and play more snaps on defense this season than Pritchett.