Take a look at the entire Bolts roster leading into 2018 Preseason.
As we near the start of training camp on July 28, we’ll preview each position for the Los Angeles Chargers. We continue with the safeties.
Jahleel Addae – From undrafted free agent in 2013 to the secondary’s veteran leader, it’s been a steady ascension for Addae as he enters his sixth season. “Hitman” played all 16 games for the first time in his career a year ago, lining up at strong safety after playing his first five seasons at free. Which spot he ends up in this year might be decided in training camp.
Derwin James – The Bolts’ prized first-round pick is another versatile safety who can play in the box or as the single-high free safety. Pundits believe the 6-2, 215-pounder is the ideal fit in Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley’s scheme. The adjustment from college to the NFL is different for each rookie, so training camp and preseason action should prove invaluable in helping James get up to speed.
Adrian Phillips – A true jack-of-all-trades, Phillips is regarded as one of the hardest working players in the locker room. “AP” saw his most extensive action to date in 2017 as the Chargers used him as an extra linebacker in their base packages in addition to his usual work in sub. Phillips finished with career-highs across the board in tackles (63), passes defensed (five) and picks (two) in 15 games.
Rayshawn Jenkins – Jenkins’ rookie campaign was largely a developmental year as the team’s fourth-round pick saw most of his time on special teams. The 6-1, 220-pounder saw time with the first team during OTAs, so he figures to see more in that role this summer.
Jaylen Watkins – The Chargers signed the former Philadelphia Eagle to a one-year deal in March. Watkins can play both cornerback and safety, but the Bolts mainly used him at the latter this offseason.
A.J. Hendy – Hendy spent most of the 2017 campaign on the Chargers’ practice squad. Defensive Backs Coach Ron Milus called him one of the faster defensive backs on the roster with impressive range. How he performs once the pads come on will be of utmost importance for the former Miami Dolphin, who appeared in one game for them back in 2016.
We’re Keeping Our Eye On…
Ricky Henne: I’m going to spend a lot of time focusing on Rayshawn Jenkins. He’s become a bit of an afterthought in fans’ minds following the selection of Derwin James, but Jenkins is a fourth-round pick from a year ago who the Chargers are still very high on. Last year was a chance for the Miami product to get his feet wet as he played sparingly as a rookie. However, a strong training camp and preseason might be all it takes to cement a regular role in the rotation in 2018.
Hayley Elwood: The obvious answer is Derwin James, but I’m going to go with Rayshawn Jenkins. The guy was a fourth-round pick of the Bolts a year ago, and Defensive Backs Coach Ron Milus said he’s pleased with how Jenkins has been progressing in year two. I’m looking for him to take that next jump, and I think camp and the preseason will be huge indicators of if and how he can do that.
Chris Hayre: Simply put: Derwin James looks the part. He’s received high praise from his teammates and coaches this offseason, in large part because of his versatility. James can play either safety position – corner, too. He’ll help in the run game and coming off the edge to rush the passer. Perhaps most importantly, he’ll get to showcase these talents on a defense that already features a pair of Pro Bowl cornerbacks and pass rushers. I’m intrigued to see how the rookie will be deployed in this Gus Bradley-led defense.
Chargers Training Camp is kicking off soon! *Click here for information on attending one of the 14 open practices between July 28 and August 23. Want to attend camp in style? Enter here for your chance to win a VIP camp experience for you and 10 friends, which includes a meet and greet with a player!*