Derwin James is entering his second season in the league. The do-it-all safety is looking to improve upon a rookie season in which he had 105 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 13 pass deflections to go along with three interceptions.
Add the fact he was also selected as a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro it makes one wonder, what can he possibly do as an encore?
James was an unquestioned surprise in his first season, the two-time All-ACC safety out of Florida State was seen by many as the steal of the 2018 draft. He was picked at 17th in the first round. In no time it seemed James was already acclimated to life in the NFL, his hard-hitting and ball-hawking skills were immediately on display and he helped lead the Chargers to a 12-4 record and playoff appearance.
Now fast forward a year, training camp is underway and the talk around Chargers camp is what can the team do to get even more out of James. A few ideas have been tossed around, maybe with his speed, he can be used in more blitz packages, or possibly used more in coverage.
The endless possibilities of how to utilize his abilities have to make defensive coordinator Gus Bradley salivate at the least. The many ways James can be used to give opposing offenses headaches will be something to surely keep an eye on this season.
With his all-around play, it’s really hard to even give James a position. Sure he is listed at safety, but with his overall talents, he seems to have no real weakness. He can rush the quarterback as well as stuff the run, and he can cover tight ends and wide receivers.
His game is reminiscent of legends Ronnie Lott and Troy Polamalu, safeties who had the ability to affect games in a multitude of ways. It’s exciting to see how the Chargers will use James this season, and what he will look to do to improve upon an already fantastic first season.