Cincinnati Safety James Wiggins Could Redeem Himself With the Chiefs

Cincinnati safety James Wiggins has battled injuries and inconsistent play in the recent past. Should the Kansas City Chiefs be interested in adding him?
Publish date:

James Wiggins - S, Cincinnati

By the numbers:

5'11", 209 pounds. 4.41 40-yard dash per pro day measurements.

2020: 32 tackles (1.0 for loss), six passes broken up, one interception, one sack and a forced fumble in nine games played. 


James Wiggins is an instinctive safety who displays great awareness and football IQ throughout his game. He thinks on his feet in coverage and tracks the ball, as well as reading the opposing quarterback and receivers. He has a great feel for zone coverage and is a willing and capable tackler. Wiggins is one of the brighter safeties in this year's draft class. He's also scheme- and role-diverse, capable of playing deep, in the slot or even in the box as needed.

Despite battling injuries over the past couple of years, Wiggins remains an elite-level athlete. He alleviated many of the remaining concerns about him after having a great pro day performance. Wiggins has fluid hips in coverage and good click-and-close ability. He possesses plus short-area and long speed. He also elevates well when playing the football and contesting catches.


Injuries are the main concern with Wiggins. He tore his ACL right before the beginning of the 2019 season and suffered a meniscus tear a few months later. After battling nagging injuries over the course of this past campaign, it's worth questioning whether Wiggins can remain healthy moving forward. This is hopefully just a string of bad luck, but multiple ailments within two seasons is never a good sign.

When on the field early last season, Wiggins didn't quite look like the same player. He performed like a player still getting back in the swing of things. The occasional poor tackling angle or failed wrap-up was scattered throughout his tape. The team that drafts Wiggins will be hoping he can get back to his 2018 form. He may be limited to more of a reserve or split-safety look early on.

How Wiggins fits with the Chiefs:

The Chiefs are slated to trot out a dynamic safety duo in Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill this season. Thornhill himself took almost all of last season before resembling his old self, so the team has experience dealing with situations similar to Wiggins'. While Daniel Sorensen is back in the fold for one more season, drafting his eventual replacement now would be a smart idea for the Chiefs. Wiggins is a solid fit as a versatile and smart player, and he wouldn't be under much pressure to perform initially.

Final Thoughts:

The 2018 and 2020 versions of Wiggins were two different players, and he showed flashes of being great last year. He has immense potential and remains a terrific athlete despite dealing with injuries in the recent past. He may need to be brought along slowly, and teams like the Chiefs would present him with that opportunity. Wiggins grades out as a third-round prospect whose best football very well could be ahead of him as he regains his mojo. 

Read More: Arrowhead Report's 100 Players in 100 Days: A Kansas City Chiefs Draft Guide.