(In)jured Charge

I often raved and ranted about a kid named Derwin James. He was making his return in 2017 after missing the rest of the 2016 season with a torn meniscus. I remember his 2017 campaign very well. Derwin was a spark for the Florida State Seminoles defense. He finished that season with 84 tackles, 11 passes deflected, and two interceptions. The Los Angeles Chargers drafted Derwin in the first round of the 2018 draft with the 17th pick. He made an immediate impact in his rookie season. Last year was a challenge for him as he battled more injuries. This season ended for him before it could even start. He’ll need surgery on his knee and will be out for six to eight months.

When you watch him play, he brings a linebacker’s mentality to the safety position. He’s 6’2 with great speed to close in on the ball-carrier. Derwin has long but powerful strides. However, he doesn’t mind laying the hammer down when hitting someone. That’s one way to introduce yourself on the football field. This guy covers in the backend, he moves from sideline to sideline and he can come in on a safety blitz to take down the quarterback. He’s a fundamental tackler. What I mean is he squares up, gets low, and powers through to finish. He reminds me a lot of Adrian Wilson.

It’s not easy replacing a player of his caliber. As a rookie, he had an immediate impact. While Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa anchor that front seven, Derwin is the leader of the secondary. Maybe we’ll see the Chargers fill that void with Earl Thomas. The move makes sense and he did play under defensive coordinator Gus Bradley in Seattle. Here’s to wishing Derwin the best in his recovery.

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