Chargers rookie season rankings: First-round selections

By Tyler Schoon
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 12: Jason Verrett #22 of the San Diego Chargers reacts after he intercepted a pass intended for Brice Butler #12 of the Oakland Raiders in the fourth quarter that clinched their victory at O.co Coliseum on October 12, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 12: Jason Verrett #22 of the San Diego Chargers reacts after he intercepted a pass intended for Brice Butler #12 of the Oakland Raiders in the fourth quarter that clinched their victory at O.co Coliseum on October 12, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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SAN DIEGO, CA – OCTOBER 13: Joey Bosa
SAN DIEGO, CA – OCTOBER 13: Joey Bosa /

Chargers rookie rankings (first round) No. 2: DE Joey Bosa

Stats:

  • 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:

.@DerwinJames out here making plays… ? pic.twitter.com/h3niCe6PlP

— 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.

Next. Chargers position groups most likely to improve

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.

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