Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports – LA Chargers
Safeties (4): Derwin James, Nasir Adderley, Mark Webb, Alohi Gilman
No true surprises here. The rather enormous elephant in the room is whether James is healthy in Week 1 for the first time since his rookie season. Provided he does stay healthy, this is the group.
The two deep safety look should help Nasir Adderley take his game to the next level. He does still need to become a better tackler, but they can allow him to focus mostly on his coverage skills as opposed to playing closer in the box.
Adderley’s development is another reason why James’ health is so critical for this team. With James, the former Delaware product is in a good defensive position. Without him, it may resemble a bit more of what last year look like at times.
Unlike last year, the Chargers no longer have Rayshawn Jenkins. Jenkins was a polarizing player with the Chargers in terms of how the fans viewed him. He ultimately wasn’t worth the contract that the Jaguars gave him, but it did take away someone that could be a reliable replacement for James. Any situation where James goes down and Adderley, Mark Webb, or Alohi Gilman have to step up seems like a doomsday scenario.
Gilman will have to play more due to the departure of Jenkins. Last year, he only had 71 defensive snaps total since his role was more special teams based.
Webb probably won’t have to play as much as GIlman. He does have good length and physicality to play some nickel though, so I’ll be interested to see how Staley and Renaldo Hill seek out some specific matchups for him.