2018 NFL Draft: Instant Analysis For San Diego Chargers Drafting Derwin James

What should Chargers fans expect from Derwin James after drafting him at No. 18?

Chargers draft Derwin James.
Eric Gay / AP Images

What should Chargers fans expect from Derwin James after drafting him at No. 18?

Derwin James may very well end up being the biggest steal in the 2018 NFL Draft. After sliding all the way down to the No. 18 overall pick, the San Diego Chargers finally drafted the Florida State defensive back.

Many thought James would be a top-14 pick, but all 14 teams chose to go different routes. Not only is James a top-notch defensive talent, but he now also has a chip on his shoulder. San Diego needed to add some more playmaking to their defense, which is exactly what James brings to the field.

Last season for the Florida State Seminoles, James ended up recording 84 total tackles to go along with a sack, two interceptions, a defensive touchdown, and 11 defended passes. Those numbers showed just how much of an impact James can have in all aspects of the game. James will be able to bring that kind of impact to the Chargers’ defense as well.

The NFL website has compared James to Kansas City Chiefs’ star safety Eric Berry. Simply receiving that kind of comparison should show Chargers’ fans what kind of talent they are getting in James.

Here is the overview that NFL analyst Lance Zierlein has for James:

“Possesses the desired physical traits and mental makeup of an All-Pro safety who has the ability to not only set a tone but change the course of games. Although James is extremely athletic and talented, he still has room for improvement as a run defender and in coverage. James’ talent is best utilized in an active, attacking capacity in a robber role or near the line of scrimmage where he can support the run, blitz and handle physical coverage responsibilities.”

James is without question one of the top three defensive backs in the draft. Denzel Ward was the top talent that went to the Cleveland Browns at No. 4, while the Miami Dolphins were happy to snag Minkah Fitzpatrick. Being drafted behind those two guys will certainly be a source of motivation moving forward.

What should the Chargers expect from James? Quite simply, he will contend for a starting job immediately and is going to turn into a lethal defensive threat. James is going to be a hard-hitting defensive back that will be a sure tackler in the open field and will be able to make plays on the football and put pressure on the quarterback when asked.

San Diego hasn’t been viewed as a serious contender in quite some time, but if they continue drafting like they have over the past few years it won’t take them long to get back to that point.