James Crawford is a do-it-all player out of Illinois and is ready for the draft. Crawford thrived in multiple positions and is ready to make his mark on the NFL. He provides speed and pass rush on the edge. I was given the privilege to interview Crawford about what comes ahead for him, including the NFL draft.

Career Stats & Accomplishments:

80 tackles, 11 TFL, 4 sacks, 4 forced fumbles

All Big-Ten Honorable Mention (2017)

Illinois Defensive MVP (2017)

Led all Big-Ten in forced fumbles in 2017 (3)

Q: You’ve played as a defensive lineman and a linebacker throughout your college career. What position do you think you can thrive in when you get to the NFL?

Crawford: Wherever a team puts me I think I can thrive. That’s kind of what happened here at Illinois i came in as a safety, was moved to linebacker and started, then moved to DE and started and was MVP. Different teams say they like me in different places so I think I can play wherever and succeed.

Q: Despite being a captain at Illinois and receiving an honorable mention on the All Big-Ten team, you are overlooked by many. Does this motivate you to try harder and be great?

Crawford: I am motivated to be great in the pros but not due to me being overlooked. Yeah I do feel that I’m overlooked but that’s out of my control. All I can do is take advantage of my opportunity when it is presented and then they’ll see who I am.

Q: How have you stayed prepared for the draft and what’s ahead?

Crawford: I’ve been in Champaign working out with my teammates who are also in the draft to stay ready for visits and local workouts.

Q: All of the draft prospects receive NFL comparisons. If there was any guy in the NFL you could compare yourself too, who would it be?

Crawford: One scout told me they thought a good comparison was Junior Galette but with more speed and I watched some film and I took it as a complement! I like to make my style of play like Von Miller and Melvin Ingram. Those are some speed guys who can do it all, cover, rush and set the edge.

Q: If you were to tell NFL scouts one thing about your game, what would it be?

Crawford: I would like to tell all the scouts, coaches, teams, ect. that if they draft me they’re getting a man of God who wants to win and will come in and contribute wherever needed to help the team win. I will work hard for everything and will be a role model for the community and make a difference on and off the field.

Crawford provides everything you would want as a head coach. He gives you speed on the edge, excellent open field tackling, great skills in coverage and great leadership. For a young, rebuilt defense, Crawford could fit in perfectly with the New York Jets and instantly make an impact. He is ready to make a splash in the NFL, and the Jets would be fortunate to get their hands on him.

– James Cunningham is a staff writer for Full Press Coverage Jets and covers the New York Jets. Like and follow on


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