S: Rayshawn Jenkins
Rayshawn Jenkins is due a new contract and he proved to be deserving of it in 2020. For a second consecutive year, Jenkins had to start the season in Derwin James‘ strong safety position following a preseason injury. In 2019, it didn’t seem like he was quite comfortable yet in pass coverage or run defense at SS.
2020 Jenkins was a much more confident player who didn’t hesitate. He wasn’t overplaying coverage as much. The Jacksonville game was an eyesore on his resume this year, but there were plenty of gems. Against Atlanta, Buffalo, Denver (first game), and Carolina, he was keeping the Chargers in the game with his alert tackling and coverage.
Unlike last year, I also think there were more challenges in the secondary to deal with this year. The same situation with James applied in 2020 as I mentioned earlier, but Jenkins also had to figure out his pairing with second-year safety Nasir Adderley.
2020 was rough for Adderley with his coverage and tackling ability. In addition to trying to bring someone who’s basically a rookie along at the position, the decline of Hayward also hurt the whole unit.
I would personally argue that Davis was the best secondary player of the group, yet there’s a potent argument to be made for Jenkins’ improvement. Anthony Lynn got ridiculed for calling Jenkins an elite safety. He definitely deserved it, but Jenkins has shown Chargers fans some of those really high-level traits he can bring when he’s at his best.
Jenkins probably won’t be particularly expensive to bring back. $4-5 million per year seems like a feasible negotiation point for both sides. Perhaps the Bolts make it a short term deal to give themselves some options to evaluate talent like Adderley in the future.