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Chargers 2019 rookie report card: Nasir Adderley

CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 26: Nasir Adderley #23 of the Delaware Fightin Blue Hens tackles Quinshad Davis #14 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Kenan Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 41-14. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 26: Nasir Adderley #23 of the Delaware Fightin Blue Hens tackles Quinshad Davis #14 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Kenan Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 41-14. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Immediately after selecting Nasir Adderley in the second round of the draft, the thought of him playing in the same secondary as Derwin James was highly enticing for fans of the Los Angeles Chargers.

Derwin James and Nasir Adderley in the same secondary, along with Casey Hayward had many fans believing the Chargers could have the league’s best secondary. Instead, Adderley and James didn’t play a single down together this season.

James was placed on injured reserve before the season started with a foot stress fracture and though he returned later in the season, by that time, Adderley had been placed on injured reserve.

Adderley’s rookie season was disappointing, much more so in many ways than that of first-round pick Jerry Tillery, who earned a D grade on our year-end rookie report card.

Draft grade: A

I gave the selection of Adderley an A and at the time, that wasn’t considered to be too generous. That was because many draft analysts had a first-round grade or a very early second-round grade on the defensive back and there was a genuine surprise that the Chargers were able to get him with the 60th overall pick.

Of course, the same was said about Forrest Lamp when the Chargers drafted him in the second round in 2017. Unfortunately, the offensive lineman has never panned out while dealing with injuries.

Adderley was considered a draft steal, as was Lamp. Hopefully, for Adderley, his career trajection takes a drastic turn in a positive way.

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Stats

Games played: 4

Total tackles: 2

Yes, that is his entire stat line from the 2019 season.

Before a hamstring injury would sideline him for the season in October, Adderley was used almost exclusively on special teams during the games he was active. He saw only 10 snaps on defense during the season and failed to make any kind of impact there.

What does the future hold?

In year two, Adderley is going to have to show he deserves to be on the field. His status as a high draft pick alone is not going to get him there.

The Chargers obviously have James, but Rayshawn Jenkins stepped up with a terrific 2019 season. Adrian Phillips and Jaylen Watkins are both scheduled to become unrestricted free agents and how the team feels about Adderley could determine what they do with at least one of those guys.

In his playing career, Adderley has also shown the ability to line up at the cornerback position so perhaps the team sees him as a guy who can come on the field in sub-packages as an extra defensive back the way Desmond King has done.

The prevailing thought will be that James and Adderley will be the team’s starting safeties when the season begins in 2020, but that is far from a lock. Because of a quiet rookie season, nothing is guaranteed for Adderley.

That said if he can be the special type of defender that he was in college, there is plenty to look forward to in the future despite a wasted rookie season.

When determining a letter grade for Adderley’s rookie season, it’s hard to hand one out when you’re really only considering four games with limited action in each. So, because his rookie campaign was incomplete, that is the deserved grade for Adderley in 2019.

Grade: I (incomplete)

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