Safety Nasir Adderley is one of the most young and exciting players on the Chargers team heading into the 2020 season. Like Forrest Lamp back in 2017, Adderley was the team’s second-round pick who wound-up seeing very little of the field due to an injury. This time, it was an eventually-diagnosed “hamstring split” that kept him on the sidelines all season.
The Philadelphia native would have certainly preferred things to go a different way as a rookie, but sometimes life throws you the inevitable curveball and it’s up to you to figure it all out as you go.
Before Adderley committed to play for the University of Delaware, he was a two-way standout for Great Valley High School where he played wide receiver, both safety positions, and returned kicks. As a senior, he helped lead his team to a 12-2 record and a district title while earning the accolades of First-Team All-Conference, First-Team All-Area, and Second-Team All-Southeastern Pennsylvania. He finished his prep career with 1,025 receiving yards, 383 yards rushing, nine interceptions, three pick-6s, three forced fumbles, and 10 offensive touchdowns with seven scores off kick returns.
to the crib @NasirAdderley | #TouchdownTuesday pic.twitter.com/zWilaExQcP— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) June 4, 2019
Adderley earned a starting spot at cornerback for the Blue Hens from the very beginning, become one of only two true freshman to start every game during the 2015 season. He finished his first collegiate season with 51 total tackles, eight pass breakups, and two tackles-for-loss. In his second season, he totaled 49 tackles, six more pass breakups, and the first two interceptions of his career.
Prior to his junior season, Adderley made the transition back to safety where he immediately thrived. In 2017, he finished with a career-high 78 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, two forced fumbles, recovering one, and hauling in a career-best five picks with three more pass breakups. He was named a First-Team All-CAA selection for his efforts. He repeated the postseason accolade after notching 48 stops, three interceptions, and a career-high nine pass breakups.
Reminder that Delaware safety Nasir Adderley is a round 1 talent - pic.twitter.com/JmVPStULlZ— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) January 20, 2019
Through the 2019 draft process, Adderley was consistently mocked anywhere between the middle of the second and the end of the first. To some draft analysts, he could have been the first safety off the board. But to the fortunes of the Chargers, Adderley fell to the 60th-overall where the he was snatched up by Bolts after they selected defensive tackle Jerry Tillery in the first.
Adderley missed most of the offseason due to a hamstring injury he suffered while running the forty-yard dash at his pro day. He didn’t get to see the field until the team’s fourth preseason game where he recorded his first professional interception off a tipped pass to himself. Adderley only got to play on special teams through the first four weeks of the season before winding-up injured again and placed on Injured Reserve for the remainder of the year in late October.
Years with team: 1
“Nasir Adderley signed a 4 year, $4,732,112 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $1,461,536 signing bonus, $2,171,632 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $1,183,028. In 2020, Adderley will earn a base salary of $710,096, while carrying a cap hit of $1,075,480 and a dead cap value of $1,806,248.” - Spotrac.com
Adderley was arguably the top safety in the 2019 NFL Draft according to a number of draft analysts. Although he played at the FCS level, he showed elite instincts on the back end and had a knack for coming up with the big play. His 10 total interceptions and 26 pass breakups paint the picture of a player who is always around the ball when it’s in the air.
The Chargers have been lacking a true single-high safety with the type of sideline to sideline range that can allow their defense to get aggressive without giving up the big play. Adderley pick against the Niners last August showed great coordination and focus after tipping the ball to himself. His history as a cornerback at the collegiate level have given him better man-to-man coverage abilities compared to most safeties, as well.
C O N C E N T R A T I O N@Chargers rookie Nasir Adderley tips it to himself for the PICK!— NFL (@NFL) August 30, 2019
: #LACvsSF on @NFLNetwork
Watch on mobile: https://t.co/WVVG7dBS5T pic.twitter.com/vioEyp17vu
As of now, his injuries will be the only thing that holds him back from his full potential in the NFL.
Like a broken record, injuries were the reason Adderley never got a real shot at playing during his rookie season. He missed most of the season while on IR and 2019 basically resembled a medical redshirt season one would take in college to give them the necessary time to get healthy.
Since there hasn’t been a lot film on Adderley, there’s much else to take away from his professional up to this point. When healthy and on the field, he’s been good. But he hasn’t been able to keep himself clean. This season will be pivotal as another year like 2019 could cause Adderley’s future to look like way too much like Forrest Lamp’s.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?
Adderley is making the Chargers final roster as the team’s potential starter at free safety or as the backup. Chances are that he’ll be behind Rayshawn Jenkins due to the coaches’ love for the latter but most of the fan base knows it should be Adderley’s job, he just hasn’t gotten the chances he’s needed. If Adderley doesn’t win the starting FS job, he’ll still likely see the field while the coaches attempt to get all of their defensive back talent on the field in the most efficient way possible.