3. SS Derwin James
It was tougher to put the top three together than the rest of the list, but James comes in at number three. When he came back in 2019 after his stress fracture injury, it was pretty clear he wasn’t 100%. In 2020, expect James to get back to that 2018 form.
What makes James so dangerous to opposing offenses is the way he plays without a real position. In the last four games of the 2019 season, James played nearly 200 snaps at linebacker.
That’s before getting into his 68 snaps in slot coverage, 28 snaps as an outside corner, and four snaps on the defensive line. While the Chargers defense was generally OK before James came back, one wonders what it could’ve been had James been there the whole year with his versatility.
Achieving an 88.3 PFF grade in his rookie year, as well as an 82.5 grade in 2019 after coming back from injury, it’s exciting to think about what James might do with a bigger role. Adrian Phillips decided to take his talents to New England, which makes James an even bigger leader on the defense.
Time will tell as to whether King takes on a role at safety, or whether Nasir Adderley makes the jump in his sophomore season, but James is built to have an even bigger role either way.
As stated earlier, the Chargers had tackling problems in 2019. With James back, the secondary should really return to form in that department. The addition of Harris in the slot will help with that as well.
It also doesn’t hurt to have the reigning Madden 20 champ:
— Muthead (@Muthead) April 3, 2020