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Ian Rapoport on How the NFL Views 'Rock Star' Derwin James


NFL Media national insider Ian Rapoport kicked off the latest edition of "Chargers Weekly" from training camp at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa.

In addition to Rapoport, actor and Chargers fan Jerry O'Connell (9:01), NFL insider Adam Caplan (28:53), and ESPN senior NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler (41:46) all joined this four-guest episode.

Download and subscribe to the Chargers Podcast Network wherever you get your podcasts. Full video episodes are available on and the team's official YouTube channel. Among the topics with Rapoport:

  • Ian's thoughts on the Chargers' offseason (1:40)
  • When Ian started hearing Brandon Staley's name as a head coaching candidate (2:15)
  • Quarterback Justin Herbert entering season two (3:56)
  • How the league views safety Derwin James (6:00)
  • How the Chargers stack up in the AFC in 2021 (7:30)

Highlights from the conversation with Rapoport are below:

How people around the NFL view All-Pro safety Derwin James

"Let's assume – knock on wood –  that he is healthy. If that is the case, and first of all, [it] sounds like he's been as explosive this camp as he's been ever since he's been on the field, so that is really good. He is a rock star. … He's a safety and we don't spend a lot of time talking about safeties, we really don't. Unless it's Jamal Adams and his contract situation, we in the media don't spend [time] like, 'Hey, let's break down the safety position.'

"Derwin is a little different because he's one of those guys, sort of like [Rams DT] Aaron Donald where it almost doesn't matter what position he plays. … His status among the upper-echelon of defensive players is entrenched even though the sample size is so small because he's so dynamic and disruptive. I was talking to Staley just a couple minutes ago. I'm like, 'Where's Derwin going to play?' He's like, 'Everywhere.' Everywhere, which is incredible. And that's a real weapon. If he stays healthy, you're looking at Defensive Player of the Year kind of talent."

On if the Chargers can grab a wild card spot or challenge the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021

"I don't see why not. I mean, talent wise, if you think about the way the Chargers are set up, and I'm not saying they're going to go win 12 games this year. I think it's actually possible, but I'm not saying they're definitely going to. Look at the foundation. You got a franchise quarterback. You got a left tackle who's played zero snaps, I get it, but should be very good. And you know, you could search your life for a quarterback and then the rest of your life for a left tackle. There's been times when the Chargers have not had one and it has been tough. You got that.

"You got some really key pieces. You got one of the best pass rushers in the NFL; one of the best defensive chess pieces; an offensive line that's completely rebuilt; a running back in Austin Ekeler, who, I don't know what he's going to look like, but in my head I see [Saints RB Alvin] Kamara. Right? Especially in this offense. So, that's a lot. That's a lot of good things. Stay healthy, I do think this team should be able to compete with the Chiefs. I really do."

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