The LA Chargers’ options if Derwin James’ injury is serious

LA Chargers Derwin James (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
LA Chargers Derwin James (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

Option three: Start Alohi Gilman at strong safety

If the LA Chargers want to take a “next man up” approach to this injury then the next man up would probably be Alohi Gilman. With Roderick Teamer getting cut after a four-game suspension, Gilman is the next option for a traditional strong safety.

This is not a great outlook for the Chargers. While Gilman is talented, the 2020 sixth-round pick is not ready to be a near-every snap strong safety that is tasked in coverage. Right now, Gilman can best be utilized by capitalizing on his strengths and allowing him to be an open-field tackler on special teams.

Gilman would be fine in running downs and short-yardage situations but I do not love him in pass-coverage in his first season in the league.

Option four: Start Desmond King at safety

This is an interesting one. Desmond King is already projected to have an interesting role in the defense with the addition of Chris Harris. Instead of having King play in the slot and have an Adrian Phillips-type role, the Chargers could move him where he has been projected to play before.

King absolutely has a safety skill set. He is a really solid ball hawk and putting him into deep coverage in Cover 3 as the free safety is not a bad outlook for the Bolts. Rayshawn Jenkins could essentially be the strong safety with Adderley filling in for King in a rotation.

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It does hurt the cornerback depth a tad, especially at slot corner, but it is something that is doable and could give the team a talented starting safety without taking a starter from elsewhere in the depth chart.