Due to their performances in 2018, Derwin James (S), Desmond King (DB) and Adrian Phillips (Special Teamer) were all named to the Associated Press’ All-Pro team. This marks the first season the Chargers have at least three AP First-Team selections since 2007.
Additionally, King and James earned AP Second-Team All-Pro honors for punt returner and defensive back, respectively, marking the first time in franchise history that any Charger was an AP first-team and second-team selection at separate positions.
"They've been real consistent," Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn said of the three players' play this season. "I think when you get voted to an All-Pro list (by) people who understand this game and recognize this game, that's an honor. It's flattering. But it doesn't surprise me. They've been consistent all year and they've played well."
James helped make history on the list as he is one of four rookies (an AP-high) to make the first team. He also is the first Bolts rookie to be selected to an AP first team. James finished the 2018 regular season leading the Chargers with 15 passes defensed and 109 total tackles. It was the first 100-plus tackle season by a rookie in Chargers history. He also had three sacks and tied his All-Pro Chargers teammate Desmond King with three picks.
In his second season, King showed tremendous growth on both defense and special teams, and his AP honors prove it. On defense, he notched 60 total tackles, four tackles for loss, three picks, 13 passes defensed, a forced fumble and fumble recovery. He had a critical pick-six in the 25-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks that earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Additionally, on special teams, he made his mark as a punt returner and notched a 73-yard punt return touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers to become Week 13’s AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Paired with the interception returned for a score against Seattle, King became the first player since 2011 to register a punt return touchdown and a pick-six in the same season. He is just the seventh player since 2000 to accomplish that feat in a season.
Lastly, Phillips, who earned a trip to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, gets to add the first-team All-Pro honor to his name as well. He not only led the Chargers with 19 special teams tackles, but also the entire NFL as he dominated in the kicking game. Back in December, after learning he made the Pro Bowl, Phillips noted how that was only one part of his individual goals for the season. The other was to earn AP honors. Well, it’s clear his hard work paid off.
“Every year I make goals that I want to accomplish for the season and one of my goals was to be a Pro Bowler/All Pro on special teams,” he said. “I completed one half of that goal already and there’s still more to be done, but it means everything. It’s a lot of motivation and it just means, really believe what you’re doing and speak it into existence.”
Recap the Bolts' 12-4 season with the top defensive big plays from 2018.