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Gus Bradley Floored Bolts Were Able to Land Derwin James
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No one thought Derwin James would be there at 17.
Certainly not Gus Bradley.
The Chargers’ defensive coordinator sat in his office with a number of other coaches, dumfounded as teams continued to pass on the 6-2, 215-pound safety.
Boy was he glad they did.
“Oh, we’re excited,” he said minutes after the team officially selected the versatile safety. “We were watching as the draft was going, and teams were making trades up. So we were hesitant, but hoping. We knew we were going to have a good player there, but to have a guy of Derwin James’ caliber, athleticism, speed, football intelligence, the way he competes and really just how he is as a player, for have him be there for us was a great pick. He really jumps out on film, so we are really excited about the skillset that he offers.”
With his size and style of play, James is often regarded as a Kam Chancellor clone.
Bradley of course coached Chancellor in Seattle, so who better to weigh in on the comparison. While he admits there are similar traits, he was quick to put the brakes on it, stressing the most important thing is to let James be himself.
“Kam Chancellor is a very good player, and Derwin has those capabilities,” he explained. “But we just need to get him in here and find out where he fits in with us. We’ve got some good players in that secondary, so finding out where he fits is the first thing. But we’ll definitely have a role for him.”
So where does he fit in?
The better question may be where he can’t.
“What’s good about Derwin is he’s played multiple positions,” Bradley said. “He’s played in the box, he’s played back as a free safety, he’s played in the nickel, he’s covered the tight ends. So he gives us a lot of versatility to utilize his skillset. With his speed and size, he has a great presence about him. He’s a big-bodied guy, and both those things show up with the way he plays. We’ll utilize him however is best for our defense.”