Tom Telesco’s fourth-best draft pick for the LA Chargers: Derwin James, first round, 2018
Full disclosure: with Philip Rivers now on the Indianapolis Colts Derwin James is my favorite player on the LA Chargers and it is not even close.
Derwin James is one of the most electric players in the entire NFL. Everyone seemingly knew that he would be an All-Pro-caliber player heading into the 2018 draft and it was completely infeasible that he would be on the Chargers.
I remember doing draft coverage leading up to that draft and not once did I consider Derwin James going to the Chargers. There was just no way he would fall that low, it is like expecting Joe Burrow to fall to sixth this year.
James was projected to go as high as the top-five with a top-10 selection seemingly being a lock. He fell down the draft board, kept falling, and before you know it, he was available with the 17th overall pick.
This was not a hard selection by Telesco, as James as easily the best available, but he did avoid making the same mistake that other teams made by passing on the significantly better prospect because they did not fit a specific need.
Safety was a need, it was not the biggest need, but it was a need. Telesco did the right thing, avoided simply picking the biggest need and went with James, who was an All-Pro in his first season and will be many times in his career.