By Rob Mason, PSO President of Sports Operations
Aug 16, 2019

After a stellar rookie year that earned him the runner-up in the 2018 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors & an All-Pro 1st Team appearance, James was looking to take it to the next level in LA’s secondary in 2019. Unfortunately, he’s suffered a serious foot injury that currently will keep him out “a significant time.”

  • Drafted 17th overall by Chargers in 2018
  • 2018 Pro Bowl
  • 2018 All-Pro 1st Team
  • 2018 Defensive Rookie of the Year Runner-Up
  • Highest PFF grade among all 2018 defensive rookie
  • 1st Chagers rookie to have 100+ tackles
  • Led LA Chargers in tackles as a rookie
  • 2x All-ACC 1st Team @ Florida State

As long as he can come back to full health, Derwin James still has one of the brightest futures for any defender across the NFL after a sensational rookie season. Coming out of Florida State, he joined Minkah Fitzpatrick as the no-brainers among DBs in the 2018 Draft Class. After one season, it appeared James would end up being the better player of the two, but of course it’s still very early. How/when James recovers from this injury will be a major factor in that battle that will be attached to their names for years to come. Until proven otherwise, still consider Derwin James one of the best safeties in the game, period.

[NFL Team Outlook Primer]

Fortunately for the Chargers, they just drafted Nasir Adderley in the 2nd round to take over for Adrian Phillips in 2020 and beyond. With James’ recent injury, he’ll likely step into the starting lineup for the weeks Derwin isn’t out there and can prove himself into a more prominent role down the stretch. Last year’s starting safety alongside James, Jahleel Addae (98.9% of snaps) signed a 1y/$1.1M deal with the Houston Texans over the offseason.

The Chargers defense benefitted greatly from James’ instincts and playmaking abilities that will surely be missed, but a healthy Joey Bosa could offset that, not to mention they have two other elite players in the secondary with Casey Hayward and Desmond King shutting down other team’s WRs. 

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