It’s still crazy to me that Derwin James has played just five games over the past two seasons and that’s done nothing to deter fans and analysts alike from still regarding him as one of the best players at his position. I mean, this guy hasn’t produced much more than a rookie season and it’s now year four with him still firmly entrenched as a young superstar.
In a new top-10 list of the NFL’s best safeties by CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan, James just barely cracks the list at No. 10. Here’s what Sullivan had to say about the incredibly versatile defender:
“Had injuries not come into play, James would likely be rivaling for the top spot on this list. The Chargers’ first-round pick in 2018 came out of the gate hot, earning an All-Pro nod during his rookie season. That year, he allowed an 82 passer rating and a 67.1 completion percentage while filling up the stat sheet. James totaled 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and recorded three interceptions along with 13 pass breakups. Calling that a monster rookie season doesn’t even begin to describe what James put together. However, the safety has only been able to play five games since that stellar rookie season, including zero in 2020 after suffering a torn meniscus last September. Again, if injuries weren’t part of James’ story, he’d be much higher on this list. Because they are, however, it may be even generous to place him inside the top 10.”
The crazy part about James’ ranking? He came in above names like Jamal Adams, Budda Baker, Kevin Byard, and Anthony Harris. While James is still James, all those player have been much healthier over the past two years and have produced, as well. It’s just incredible to see the vast amount of clout he’s managed to retain through all the injuries and setbacks.
Go ahead and give me your thoughts on this in the comments below. Is this too high? Too low? Are analysts justified in including James in these lists after all the missed time?
And now for today’s links.
Check out the latest Chargers Weekly (Chargers.com)
How Frank Smith’s experience in New Orleans benefits the Chargers (Chargers Wire)
The Bolts will be a top team in terms of salary cap over the next three seasons (Chargers Wire)
Herbert and Allen are a top duo in the NFL (Bolt Beat)
What we’ve learned about all 32 2021 first-round picks (ESPN+)
The NFL is going to start taking bids to host the NFL Combine (ESPN)
Packers players are not talking about the Aaron Rodgers situation (NFL.com)
Travis Kelce is calling his record-setting 2020 a “failure” (NFL.com)
The Cowboys will bid to host the NFL Combine (Pro Football Talk)
Ranking the top safeties in the NFL (CBS Sports)