Photo courtesy of Orange County Register
By: Christian Coppola
Things are getting ELECTRIC in LA for the Bolts Secondary. The guys in Powder Blue will be creating havoc for opposing Quarterbacks in 2018. The young talent that exists in this secondary is nothing less than exciting for Charger Fans and for the franchise itself.
The Cornerbacks are the highlight of this secondary due to their incredible, talent, youth, and depth. The Bolt’s have four… yes four, highly talented young corners. Hayward, Verrett, Williams, and King are hands down the best Cornerback group in the league. I don’t think we have ever seen a more dominant and deep corner back group like these four guys. Being able to play four talented corners on the field will make it almost impossible for opposing offenses to throw the ball.
After another elite season for Casey Hayward in 2017, he is arguably the best corner in the NFL next to Jalen Ramsey. Casey’s intelligence in both the passing and running game is what separates him from the rest of the league. His ability to read and react is jaw dropping, especially the fact that he does it against some of the league’s best. The last two years for Hayward have been absolutely spectacular due to becoming a Pro – Bowler in 2016 and 2017, Second Team All – Pro 2016 and 2017, and League Leader in INT in 2016 (7). The Charger’s Cornerback also received Pro Football Focus honors by being the highest rated corner in 2017. Casey is without a doubt the leader of this secondary at only the age of 28 and has done an already unbelievable job in helping his young cornerbacks be as successful as they possibly can be. I expect for Casey to lead this LA Defense in 2018 and finally push himself into a First Team All – Pro position. The sky is the limit for this league best Corner and I can’t wait to see what else our Lockdown Corner has in store for the 2018 season.
Jason Verrett is coming off a season ending injury in 2017. Jason’s unfortunate situation was just another demoralizing injury for the Chargers along with Forest Lamp, Denzel Perryman, and Jatavis Brown. It will be exciting to see Verrett play next to an emerging Trevor Williams, a young talent in King, and an All – Pro in Hayward. Verrett will more then likely play in the slot with King and use his speed to cover those quick and shifty slot receivers like Tyreek Hill and Emmanuel Sanders in 2018. Jason, once a Pro - Bowler in 2015, gives his young teammates a sense of leadership due to his early success in the league. The speed of Verrett is something that sets himself apart from other corners in the league. The ability to make up for lost ground or stay with speedy receivers will be crucial for the Chargers success on the defensive side of the ball. A speedy Tyreek Hill who the Bolts play twice a year can open up a game in the matter of seconds. Jason would be the perfect matchup for a guy like Tyreek where can try and match Hill’s speed and quickness and shutdown the 1000 yard speed demon in 2018. Other than his speed Jason has the muscle and body frame of a Strong Safety. Don’t be fooled by his position, Verrett is a savage. An eventual move to slot corner will mean more responsibility in the run game where Jason can use his underrated strength to stop ball carriers in their tracks. Both Hayward and Verrett will look to be the mentors for the young King and Williams as they continue to get better as their already great careers continue.
Trevor Williams was LA’s undoubtedly most improved player in 2017. As an undrafted Wide Receiver out of Penn State in 2016, Williams has been a magnificent surprise for the Chargers, as he has become a great counterpart to Casey Hayward. Trevor was one of the league’s best playmakers according to Pro Football Focus and did so only at the age of 24. The range and ability to go up and make a play on the ball is what makes Trevor special. As a receiver in college, Williams knows exactly how to play the ball in the air. Whenever a ball is thrown in Trevor’s vicinity, he is at such an advantage over the offensive player because of his knowledge of the Receiver position. In 2018 Trevor will look to solidify his well - earned starting Cornerback position opposite Hayward and keep his coaches amazed of the type of player he has turned into after going undrafted. A young and special talent like Williams will be important for the Charger’s success in the 2018 season.
Desmond King was hands down the Charger’s rookie of the year in 2017. King stepped in immediately and made plays for the impressive defense since day one. The athleticism of this slot corner made him versatile in playing the pass, playing the run, and even coming off the edge and making a play in the backfield. One of Desmond’s solidifying plays for his successful 2017 campaign came on Thanksgiving Day where he picked off Dak Presccott and took it to the house to put the game away. The 5 foot 10, 200 pound corner is a flat out football player. His determination to make an impact even in the run game shows the type of player he is. The man is a flat out savage and is a perfect fit for a defense that has a certain attitude to it. Both savages in King and Verrett in the slot will have Quarterbacks shaking in their boots when walking to the line of scrimmage. I expect the second year Corner to take on a larger role in 2018 and be a cornerstone to this Charger defense. King will hopefully become a Charger great and help take this defense and this team to a Super Bowl in the near future.
Behind the Cornerbacks, are our talented Safeties in Derwin James and Jahleel Addae. Both known for their love of contact and putting people in the dirt, these two will be snapping necks and cashing checks for as long as they are playing in the NFL. The presence of the two beasts will only make the Cornerbacks better and will make this secondary the best in the league in 2018.
Jahleel Addae, HITMAN, is the Charger’s enforcer. A in the box type safety had himself another impressive season in 2017. Addae was a presence last season for this already intimidating defense and had receivers thinking twice before they ran over the middle. Jahleel gives this secondary a sense of aggression and tenacity that is important for an elite and Championship tier defense. HITMAN, at the age of 28, will now look to move into a bigger leadership roll after the Bolts drafted Derwin James with the 17th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. According to Charger reporters, Addae has taken Derwin under his wing and show him the ropes. I expect Addae to lead the safeties and create a hard-hitting deep third attack in 2018.
Derwin James… oh yes Derwin James. With the 17th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft the Los Angeles Chargers select… Derwin James, Safety, Florida State. Those words still give me goose bumps. Hearing the commissioner say those oh so beautiful words got me that much more excited for next season. Derwin is the definition of a SAVAGE and was a top 5 talent in the 2018 draft according to multiple experts. Having Derwin fall to 17 was a blessing in disguise and it was the easiest pick that Tom Telesco and this Front Office has ever made and ever will make. The athletic Safety can do anything… yes anything on the defensive side of the ball. The ball skills, animal like presence in the run game, coverage skills, speed, strength, agility, and the endless unbelievable things Derwin can do are what football fans dream to have on their team. James is a once in a generation talent and the Los Angeles Chargers have him. The possibilities for our 2018 First Round Pick are endless. Defensive Rookie of the Year is without a doubt something to expect for our new safety in 2018. The defensive system in which Gus Bradley runs is THE PERFECT system for James and he will fill into his new spot smoothly. Gus will have #33 all over the field, in the box at linebacker, at safety playing middle field, Cornerback covering some of the leagues best, and even rushing the passer from the inside or outside. The possibilities to use Derwin James are endless and if you couldn’t tell already, I expect our new Super Star to have an unbelievable first year as a Los Angeles Charger.
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