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2020 Positional Overview: Secondary

LAC_2020_Overview_Secondary will break down each of the team's position groups leading up to 2020 training camp. This week continues with the secondary.

CB Casey Hayward Jr.

For the third straight season, Hayward Jr. started all 16 regular-season games. He finished 2019 with 32 total tackles, two interceptions and eight passes defended.

According to Pro Football Focus, Hayward Jr. has the highest coverage grade (92.3) among cornerbacks since 2017.

Hayward Jr., 30, is entering his ninth NFL season and fifth with the Chargers. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2016 and 2017 and has 22 career interceptions.

CB Chris Harris Jr.

After nine seasons with the Denver Broncos, Harris Jr. signed with the Chargers this offseason as an unrestricted free agent.

"I'm excited about my next chapter," Harris Jr. said on his introductory conference call in March. "I'm looking forward to coming to L.A. and being able to help this team win, help this organization win. Just talking to Anthony Lynn and Tom [Telesco], those guys are hungry. They want to win now."

Harris Jr. won Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos in 2015. He's a four-time Pro Bowler – a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2016 – and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team in April.

In Los Angeles, Harris Jr. has been reunited with Ron Milus, his first-ever position coach in the NFL.

"It's exactly how it was in Denver when he was there," Harris Jr. said of Milus. "He coaches everybody, and that's what you need. You need a DB coach that coaches everybody's technique the same – doesn't matter how good you are – and that's how he did [it] when I was there with [Hall of Fame cornerback] Champ [Bailey].

Harris Jr., an undrafted free agent from Kansas in 2011, has appeared 139 NFL games including 121 starts. He has 518 total tackles, 20 interceptions, 86 passes defended and four defensive touchdowns in his career.

Browse through photos of the Chargers new CB Chris Harris Jr., a four-time Pro Bowler who spent his first nine NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos.

S Derwin James

A First-Team All-Pro in his rookie season, James’ sophomore year started with a foot injury suffered in training camp that cost him the first 11 regular-season games of 2019.

"He was really coming on," defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said this offseason, "and I thought in training camp some of the new things we were doing were really starting to look good. And then when he got hurt, and then Adrian Phillips got hurt, we got really young at that position. We kind of changed our philosophy.

"… So, now that he's healthy again and we've got some different pieces to the puzzle, I think we're back in that mode."

James returned in Week 13 at Denver and started the final five games of the season, totaling 34 tackles (three for loss) and one pass defended.

In year three, James will spearhead a talented secondary that now includes Harris Jr., one of the best slot corners in football.

"I knew of Chris before we traded for him," James said this offseason. "I always thought that he was a great player and I feel like he still has a lot in the tank – and I feel like just adding him will allow the defense to be very multiple."

James isn't buying into the hype, though. Yes, the Chargers have big names, but according to James, "it's all on paper."

"Right now it looks good, but we got to go out there and perform," he said.

S Rayshawn Jenkins

In his third NFL season, Jenkins started all 16 games for the Chargers at safety in 2019, including 99 percent of all defensive snaps (964) – the most on the team.

He finished the year with 54 total tackles, three interceptions and four passes defended. In March on “The Adam Schefter Podcast,” head coach Anthony Lynn said he thinks Jenkins will break out in 2020.

"I saw this coming a couple of years ago," Lynn said. "The young man, he's refocused. He's changed his body. I thought last year putting him at free safety, he made it hard for our second-round draft pick to get on the football field, and Rayshawn just got better and better. He finished as one of the top-five free safeties in the game last year in my opinion, and he's just going to take it to another level."

Jenkins played his college football at the University of Miami, and was the Chargers' fourth-round pick in 2017.

DB Desmond King II

King II played in 15 games last season, including eight starts. He made 51 total tackles, 2.5 sacks (all against Miami in Week 4) and had two passes defended. King II also returned a punt 68 yards for a touchdown against the Broncos in Week 5.

Entering year four, King II will look to replicate his 2018 season, which earned him First-Team All-Pro honors. That year he had three interceptions – one returned for a touchdown – 10 passes defended, and a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers on "Sunday Night Football" in Week 13.

Dating back to 2017, King II has the third-highest coverage grade in the NFL according to PFF.

CB Michael Davis

Davis is entering his fourth season with the Chargers.

The 25-year-old has been the primary starter across from Hayward the last two seasons. In 2019, Davis started 12 games and had his first two career interceptions. He also made 39 total tackles and had nine passes defended.

Davis played at least 98 percent of the defensive snaps in 10 of his 12 starts last season. The Glendale native was an undrafted free agent from BYU in 2017.

S Nasir Adderley

Adderley played just 10 defensive snaps his rookie season while working through a hamstring injury. He was placed on injured reserve on October 26.

Los Angeles' second-round pick in 2019, Adderley showed flashes in the team's preseason finale against the San Francisco 49ers: an interception, a pair of tackles and three passes defended.

Bradley said this offseason that the team is counting on Adderley and despite a crowded secondary, "he's going to be a big part of this" in 2020.

"… I think what he learned is that it doesn't matter who's in front of you or who's there, if you can perform and you're doing well in practice, you're gonna play," Bradley said.

S Alohi Gilman

The Chargers selected Gilman in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

He joins linebacker Drue Tranquill, defensive tackle Jerry Tillery and defensive end Isaac Rochell as Notre Dame defenders turned Chargers. Gilman was a captain in 2019.

Irish head coach Brian Kelly said on “Chargers Weekly” this offseason that Gilman's passion will be on display early in Los Angeles.

"He'll be active in the community," Kelly said. "He'll be somebody that immediately shows himself on the field in the way that he makes plays – just great instincts for the game. Some people were made to play the game of football. God made him to play this game of football."

"Right now the back-up to Derwin James, that's a competitive place that we're looking at," Bradley said. "Who is that guy? … I think [Gilman's] a guy that can play strong [safety], dime, nickel – really smart, really intelligent player."

Rounding out the room

CB Brandon Facyson will begin his third season with the Chargers after joining the team as an undrafted free agent from Virginia Teach in 2018. An injury to Davis in Week 1 thrust Facyson into action early in 2019. He appeared in all 16 regular-season games and made four starts – a total of 324 defensive snaps compared to just six in 2018. Facyson finished last year with 40 total tackles and one pass defended.

S Roderic Teamer made the Chargers' 53-man roster in 2019 as an undrafted free agent from Tulane. His NFL debut came in Week 3 against the Houston Texans – the first of six consecutive starts. Teamer finished the season with 40 total tackles, a sack and an interception.

CB John Brannon is a 2020 undrafted free agent from Western Carolina. According to the school's athletic page, Brannon totaled 90 tackles for his career and had seven interceptions, returning two for touchdowns.

CB Tevaughn Campbell returns after spending time on the Chargers' practice squad in 2019. He played his college football in Regina (Canada).

CB Kevin McGill is a 2020 undrafted free agent from Eastern Michigan. McGill made 124 total tackles, five interceptions and 22 passes defended in four college seasons.

CB Donte Vaughn is a 2020 undrafted free agent from Notre Dame. Vaughn played in the same Irish secondary as Gilman. He made 51 total tackles, one interception and had 11 passes defended in college.

DB Quenton Meeks finished the 2019 season on the Chargers practice squad. In 2018, he appeared in eight games for the Jacksonville Jaguars, making one start.

*College stats courtesy ofSports Reference.

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