Chargers rookie rankings (first round) No. 2: DE Joey Bosa
- 12 games played
- 10.5 sacks
- 41 combined tackles
- 21 QB hits
- 17 tackles for loss
Much noise was made about both Bosa’s contract holdout and preseason injury, and worries grew surrounding the team’s pick at No. 3 overall.
Then he played a game.
Against the Oakland Raiders, Bosa was flying around on defense, notching two sacks in his first NFL appearance and looking like the best player on defense immediately.
When the team needed a stop, or a sack, Bosa delivered; not only did he begin to dominate NFL offenses, but Melvin Ingram’s play was raised as well. Bosa was the first piece in building what is now one of the best defenses in the league.
This was one of the more impressive Chargers’ rookie seasons in quite some time, which earned him Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Unfortunately, he only appeared in 12 games. Which is why the edge is given to…
Chargers rookie rankings (first round) No. 1: S Derwin James
- 105 total tackles
- 3.5 sacks
- Three interceptions
- 13 passes defended
- Two run stuffs
It took 15 minutes of football for fans to figure out how special Derwin James is:
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) September 9, 2018
Blowing up a Bills’ running play. Causing a game-clinching interception against the 49ers. Smashing Antonio Brown, dropping James Conner, and picking off Ben Roethlisberger in prime time. Jawing at the Ravens in the postseason. James did everything. And fans love him for it:
Better #Chargers rookie season from a first-round selection?
— Bolt Beat (@BB_Chargers) June 4, 2019
The result: First-Team Pro-Bowl safety, First-Team All-Pro safety, Second-Team All-Pro defensive back, second place for Defensive Rookie of the Year. No. 33 was the best player on defense last year on a team full of superstars, playing in nearly 100 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.
Of every player on this list, James would be the least likely to have a noticeable sophomore slump. Those brains, awareness, and athleticism displayed in his rookie year will carry him right to another All-Pro season in 2019. Your move, Jerry Tillery.