This is a great time of year to be thankful for what we have, where we have been, and what the future holds. Although the Chargers have lost their way a bit in recent years, the month of December still holds such incredible promise! This advent calendar is an attempt to hearken back to these days of December joy. Each day will bring a new advent from the Bolts’ history that makes it wonderful to be a Chargers fan.
Dec. 24: Derwin James, the Chargers’ Early Christmas Present
On April 26, 2018, the 2018 NFL Draft began and the Los Angeles Chargers held the 17th overall pick. As the draft progressed, Derwin James, arguably the top defensive prospect in the draft, continued to slide. The Chargers and the the Chargers faithful were almost unwilling to consider that he might make it all the way to their pick, but as it got closer he was still there and finally the Oakland Raiders were on the clock and it seemed certain that they would select him, but Jon Gruden had other ideas and they instead opted to take the incredibly mediocre Kolton Miller instead.
Once the Chargers were on the clock, there was some fear that they might be too clever by half and go another direction, but that fear was misplaced and they excitedly turned in the card to get the rights to the Florida State Seminole.
Once in camp, it was clear that Derwin James was something special. As preseason kicked off it became even more obvious that he was an unusual talent. And when the season began, we all saw that we were watching an eventual all-time great. With 16 games in the books, the rookie defensive back has amassed 99 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 13 pass deflections, and 3 interceptions. And according to Pro Football Focus, he has set a new record for total pressures by a rookie safety. He has been an integral part of one of the NFL’s best defenses as his versatility has allowed Gus Bradley to line him up all over.
When he was drafted, all I could think was that “I can’t believe Derwin James is a Charger.” With only one week left in the regular season, I still can’t believe it, and I’m even more excited now than I was then.