It is the midway point in the Los Angeles Chargers season. Who gets your vote for defensive player of the year thus far?
Jason Michaels: Derwin James is lighting the league on fire, and he’s just a rookie. Can’t ask for more-- can certainly ask for less and still be incredibly satisfied.
Michael Peterson: Derwin James. Making an impact all over the field. On pace for most sacks by a rookie DB. Leads the team in tackles.
Ruben J. Gonzalez: I’m gonna throw in Desmond King as the player of the year. Derwin has been spectacular and Ingram and Hayward have both shown their worth, but I can’t say some of these wins would have happened if King was not where he is when he is where he’s at. He, more than anybody has been so valuable this year.
Jake Hefner: This was a toss up between Derwin James and Desmond King. But I have to give it to King on this one. He leads all cornerbacks in overall grade through the first eight weeks of the season according to PFF. Additionally, its hard to argue that the outcome of some games have not been specifically determined by his play (See Pick Six).
Mike Murray: Desmond King, the guy is a playmaker (plus he should also get STPOY).
Jamie Hoyle: This is a tough one for me because I feel like someone different steps up every week. That said, I’m going to buck the Derwin trend here and go with someone who deserves much more credit than he’s been getting - Adrian Phillips. Phillips is the best, most versatile and most consistent linebacker on the team (I don’t care if he’s listed as a S, he’s a LB), and has made a huge impact on this defense since he began getting more snaps against Oakland. The Chargers are allowing fewer yards per game, a lower third down conversion rate per game, and fewer points per game since Adrian started to see the field more in week five. This is no knock on Derwin, it just speaks to how well Phillips has played.
Lou Gorini: You all know who it is, the rookie, Derwin James. James is the prototypical Swiss Army knife. People throw the term versatile so often. Being versatile doesn’t mean a players ability to play multiple positions on the field. It means being able to play multiple positions by a player AT AN ELITE LEVEL. That is what James has done. He has played strong safety, free safety, slot corner, linebacker, and edge. He is one of the leading tacklers on the Chargers defense. And if that wasn’t enough; if you are one of those people that are into PFF grades, then you will love this. James has received grades of 75 or greater for his coverage, tackling, and pass rushing.
Richard Wade: I’m tempted to give it to Desmond King for the big plays, but Derwin James has been the guy that has made this defense work this year. He fills so many holes. He’s great in coverage. He’s great against the run. He can rush the passer. You can line him up almost anywhere on the field and he will be fantastic. I really do not think you can overstate just how valuable the rookie has been.
Who is your defensive player of the first half?