The pads haven't come on, but one of the most tenured members of the Chargers' defense has noticed the early promise and progress shown by the unit's youngest contributors.
Veteran safety Jahleel Addae -- the team's leading tackler in 2017 -- said that all four players from the Chargers' defensive rookie draft class have flashed their talents during organized team activities. Though it's early, Addae believes the collective group looks ready to make an impact on Sundays.
"Sometimes rookies come in and they're trying to dip their toes in the water," Addae told Chargers Weekly. "No, these guys are head first. They play with swag, they play with confidence and they're picking up on the scheme."
Los Angeles' rookie class is headlined by Florida State safety Derwin James, the team's first-round draft pick. Addae said he loves what he's seen from his fellow safety in OTAs, describing the 21-year-old with four simple attributes: big, fast, physical and smart.
Addae also noted that James has come to Los Angeles as a willing learner; he's coachable and doesn't pretend to have all the answers.
"The sky's the limit for him," Addae said of James. "He's a dog."
After James, the Chargers selected USC linebacker Uchenna Nwosu in the second round, North Carolina State defensive tackle Justin Jones in the third and West Virginia linebacker Kyzir White in the fourth. All three players participated in the 2018 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. during the draft evaluation process.
Addae, entering his sixth season, explained the importance of the team being able to count on the rookies.
"We're only as good as the next man up," he said. "And those guys are going to contribute to us -- whether it's on defense (or) whether it's on special teams. But you just tip your hat to the front office on what they did and how they addressed the draft this year."
Listen to the entire interview with Addae below on this week's episode of Chargers Weekly. Among the topics: being new to fatherhood, building off of his best NFL season, how the secondary benefits from defensive ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, and his relationship with Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Subscribe to Chargers Weekly on Apple Podcasts. A five-star rating/review is appreciated and will help spread the word to other fans this offseason. Chargers Weekly is also available on Stitcher, TuneIn or Google Play.