Before the 2021 season started, ESPN compiled a list of the NFL's top 10 players at each position. The rankings were put together by votes from NFL executives, coaches, players and scouts.
As teams have two regular season games left to play ESPN reevaluated their preseason lists to see where players have improved or dropped in the rankings and chose two players from each position as their featured rising stars. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and safety Derwin James Jr. were two players who rose up the rankings in their respective positions as members of the NFL revisited those preseason lists.
Before the season, Herbert ranked at ninth overall in QB rankings but along with fellow AFC quarterback Joe Burrow have rose up the rankings. Herbert has added to his rookie campaign and continued to add on the accolades with his first Pro Bowl nomination in just his second season in the NFL. Herbert has thrown for 33 touchdowns and 4,394 passing yards through 15 games this season.
James was ranked at the ninth overall safety before the season but the now two time Pro-Bowl safety is climbing up the charts according to ESPN's rankings. After missing last season due to a knee injury, James has recorded 103 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. James is three tackles shy of setting a new season-high in tackles with 106, James recorded 105 tackles his rookie year in which he was named a Pro-Bowler and All-Pro.
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