Analysis, Grade for Chargers’ first-round selection of Derwin James

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 02: Derwin James
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 02: Derwin James /

The Los Angeles Chargers let the draft board play out and still got one of the better defensive players in the class, selecting Florida State safety Derwin James with the No. 17 overall pick.

The team watched as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Vita Vea at No. 12 and the Buffalo Bills traded with the Baltimore Ravens to come up to No. 16 and select Tremaine Edmunds. James fell right into their proverbial lap.

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco has long been criticized for bot placing enough value on the safety position. That changed on Thursday night. If you were thinking the team would select Lamar Jackson or Rashaan Evans, you would have been wrong. Many analysts were shocked that James was still on the board and the Chargers likely were too.

How is Derwin James still on the board!

— Marshon Lattimore (@shonrp2) April 27, 2018

This is just a tremendous pick for the Bolts. Imagine having to go against this secondary: Casey Hayward, Jason Verrett, Jahleel Addae and James. Then throw in Desmond King and Trevor Williams and look out. We talked last year about how this team could soon have the league’s best secondary and that is beginning to come to fruition.

James will be a beast in Gus Bradley’s defense, perhaps conjuring up memories of the way he used to use his Kam Chancellor while with the Seattle Seahawks. But imagine a younger, more athletic version of Chancellor and that’s what you get in James.

Despite playing in just 26 games at Florida State, James still did enough to impress during his college career. The best part of this pick is the creative ways the Chargers will be able to use him. He can come up and make plays at the line of scrimmage, he is a solid tackler in space and can be used in multiple blitz packages. With the ball in his hands, he makes plays, as evidenced by the three interceptions he took to the house for the Seminoles.

There’s just about nothing to dislike about this pick, and the fact the Chargers were able to stay where they were on the board to get him makes it even sweeter.

Grade: A+