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Jahleel Addae's Plan to Take Derwin James Under His Wing
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Their paths to the NFL couldn’t have been any different.
Jahleel Addae went undrafted back in 2013, scratching and clawing his way to not only make the roster, but entrench himself as an invaluable starter now entering his sixth season.
Derwin James was a highly-coveted prospect regarded as one of the top defensive backs in the 2018 draft, eventually being selected by the Bolts at 17th overall.
Now, both are projected to be the Chargers’ starting safeties come Week 1 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.
To say Addae is excited to add the first-round pick into the fold would be an understatement.
“I’m excited we got him because he’s a baller,” Addae enthusiastically said. “You watch his film, it’s crazy. Being from Florida, I knew about him before we even drafted him seeing him come up through the ranks at Florida State. He’s versatile. He can play down in the box, can play free, and he brings that swagger to our defense that all our DBs have. He’s going to be a good fit for us.”
Addae was fortunate enough to have veteran leaders show him the ropes when he was a young buck.
As such, the longest-tenured member of the Bolts’ secondary has a plan to take James under his wing.
“I’ll be doing extra work with him,” he said. “Our defense isn’t too complicated. It’s see a little bit, see a lot. I think he’ll be able to adjust fast. He’s a smart player, so I’ll give him all the tips I learned from my six years to help him be successful. That’s what I had when I was in his shoes. Whenever he needs me, I’m going to be there for him.”
Having someone of Addae’s ilk eager to mentor him is music to the first-round pick’s ears.
“That means a lot coming from a veteran guy like him,” James said. “A lot of veterans at the same position don’t do it. For him to be willing to reach out and do what’s best for us and the team, that speaks a lot about him. I knew about Jahleel before I got here. He loves to hit, so he caught my eye on film. I’m real happy to be working with him.”
Both safeties are known for their versatility.
Right now, the team isn’t sure how they will deploy both Addae and James, but knows they want to get them on the field as much as possible.
Thus, the coming months should determine who will play down in the box and who will be back at free safety.
Fortunately, each player is willing and able to line up wherever the coaches decide to deploy them.
“I don’t mind at all,” Addae said. “I played free my first four years and a little bit of strong. Last year was my first season playing strong all the way. So if they want me to play free with him in the box, then we are going to rock with it. If it’s vice-versa, we’re going to make it happen. We both have two unique stories (coming into this league), but at the end of the day, we gel as one. He’s a baller. I’m a baller. So it’s going to be a lot of balling in this secondary.” Read