Chargers overachiever No.2: Rayshawn Jenkins
There has been no bigger improvement on the Chargers roster this year than Jenkins. Although Jenkins predictably looked lost in the first couple of games of the season as he was learning the free safety position, he unpredictably made significant enough improvements to become one of the Chargers’ best-performing defenders in recent weeks.
Last year, Jenkins played as a backup strong safety behind Derwin James, and in the rare times he did see the field, he looked like an uncontrollable missile heading to hit anything he could find, often including players in powder blue.
In the offseason, the Chargers asked the hard-hitting safety to make the swap to free safety, a position in which coverage is the primary role. From the 2017 to 2018 seasons, the Chargers asked the same of Jahleel Addae, and he predictably failed, as he was asked to do something he could not.
The same looked to be true of Jenkins – until he figured it out around Week 3. Now, Jenkins seems like a natural at free safety, as he keeps making impressive plays to break up and intercept passes.
But this piece is not about improvement. It is about being an overachiever based on contract value over the course of the 2019 season. And even with his relatively poor early performance, Jenkins has been that overachiever.
On a contract of $765,000 per year, Jenkins has performed well enough to earn an above-average grade for a starter of 74.5 from PFF.
Considering that grade is highly buffered by his most recent play, Chargers fans should be excited about the future of Jenkins and perhaps dreaming of the day he will get a chance to play next to James.