Safety Derwin James was inserted right into a prominent role on the Chargers defense after being drafted in the first round earlier this year and he’s spent the first quarter of the season showing why the team was so high on his ability.
James spent the first three weeks lining up all over the field and making plays at all levels of the defense. That continued in Sunday’s 29-27 win over the 49ers.
James helped seal the win by pressuring 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard into an interception in the final minutes. That capped a day that saw James record his third sack of the year, break up a pair of passes and make seven tackles in a performance that made Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers happy that James shares his locker room.
“He’s been great,” Rivers said, via the team’s website. “He has the demeanor, and he’s made the plays obviously, but he has the demeanor of one of those double-digit year safeties. That’s what he is. He will ascend in a hurry to that kind of role. That’s just his demeanor [with] the way he plays, the passion he has and the aggression he plays with. He was a heck of a pick. I’m glad he’s on our side.”
The Chargers had to overcome plenty of their own mistakes to wind up as winners on Sunday and James’ ability to force others to make them played a big part in making that happen.