A wild night and come back win for the Chargers over Kansas City on Thursday will be remembered most for Philip Rivers leading his team into the end zone and throwing the eventual game-winning two-point conversion with :04 left.
And rightfully so, because that’s happens when you pull off a 14-point come back and pull into a tie with Kansas City at 11 – 3 in the AFC West.
Still, fans of football in the state of Florida, specifically Florida State fans and also fans of the Bucs and Dolphins, had to be watching former FSU safety Derwin James on national TV again last night. And what they saw, again, was another solid performance and they’re left to wonder what he could have done to help Tampa Bay and Miami this season?
Derwin James comes up big and makes sure Travis Kelce doesn't get the first down. Still amazes me how many teams passed on him. pic.twitter.com/21tAlXqMQk
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 14, 2018
James was bypassed by both the Bucs and the Dolphins in the opening round of last April’s Draft, when both teams had a need for a young safety. In Miami’s case they took Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick, who is proved to be a versatile and solid pick for their secondary.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay chose Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea. However, more importantly, their secondary has been beaten up and struggled mightily to defend the pass for most of the season. And, they’ve had to do so with young inexperienced and less talented players less than James.
On Thursday night he was solid even, if the stats weren’t spectacular. James finished with five tackles on the night and added to some solid numbers in 2018. He has 66 tackles, four for losses, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions through 13 games.
And, going into Thursday night’s contest, the guys at Pro Football Focus had him rated, by far, as the best rookie safety from last year’s class:
Derwin James has been the top rookie safety in the NFL this season. pic.twitter.com/BMfxhpsiF1
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 12, 2018
Notice that PFF has him rated 27 points higher than Tampa Bay rookie safety Jordan Whitehead, who has played most of the season, too.
And, it’s not a stretch to say that James had a significant impact on a team that has clinched the playoffs and may be about to do much more in January.
This can only leave Buccaneer fans, specifically, wondering if he could have helped them more, sooner this season.
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