Derwin James
refer to caption
James in 2021
No. 3 – Los Angeles Chargers
Position:Strong safety
Personal information
Born: (1996-08-03) August 3, 1996 (age 26)
Haines City, Florida
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school:Haines City
(Haines City, Florida)
College:Florida State (2015–2017)
NFL Draft:2018 / Round: 1 / Pick: 17
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 2, 2022
Total tackles:272
Forced fumbles:3
Pass deflections:19
Player stats at · PFR

Derwin Alonzo James Jr. (born August 3, 1996) is an American football strong safety for the Los Angeles Chargers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Florida State. He was drafted by the Chargers in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Early years

James attended Auburndale High School in Auburndale, Florida before transferring to his hometown Haines City High School in Haines City, Florida.[1][2] He was rated by as a five-star recruit and was ranked as the best safety and fifth best player overall in his class.[3] James committed to Florida State University to play college football as a freshman, being offered a scholarship after his freshman year in high school.[4][5][6]

College career

James entered his true freshman season at Florida State in 2015 as a backup, but eventually became a starter.[7][8][9][10] As a freshman in 2015, James played in 12 games with 91 tackles, 4.5 sacks, four passes defended, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.

Before his sophomore season, James was ranked as the third-best second year player, behind only Josh Rosen and Calvin Ridley, by Lance Zierlein.[11] On September 13, 2016, it was revealed that James would undergo knee surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear and cartilage damage. Recovery time required 5 to 7 weeks.[12] His sophomore year was short-lived, as James only played two games with 11 tackles and an interception. He was granted a redshirt for his following year, and as a redshirted sophomore in 2017, he played in 12 games, finishing with 84 tackles, 2 interceptions, 11 passes defended, and a sack. On December 7, 2017, James decided to forgo his remaining two years of eligibility and enter the 2018 NFL Draft.[13]

Professional career

On December 5, 2017, James released a statement through his Instagram account that announced his decision to forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the 2018 NFL Draft.[14] As a result of his decision, he also chose to skip the 2017 Independence Bowl.[15] James attended the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and completed the majority of combine drills, but opted to skip the short shuttle and three-cone drill. His combine performance impressed scouts and draft experts as he finished third among all defensive backs in the bench press and ninth among all safeties in the 40-yard dash. He also finished fifth among all defensive backs in the broad jump and sixth in the vertical.[16]

External video
video icon Derwin James' NFL Combine Workout
video icon Derwin James runs a 4.47 40-yard dash
video icon Derwin James hits 40" on his vertical
video icon NFL Draft Profile: Derwin James

On March 20, 2018, James participated at Florida State's pro day, but opted to stand on his combine numbers and only ran the short shuttle, three-cone drill, and positional drills. James also attended pre-draft visits with the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but reportedly declined to attend a private workout with the Buccaneers who held the 12th overall pick.[17][18] At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, James was projected to be a first round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was expected to be one of the first 15 players drafted.[19] He was ranked the top free safety prospect in the draft by and was ranked the second best safety by NFL analyst Mike Mayock and Sports Illustrated.[20][21]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 1+34 in
(1.87 m)
215 lb
(98 kg)
33 in
(0.84 m)
9+12 in
(0.24 m)
4.47 s 1.55 s 2.59 s 4.34 s 7.34 s 40 in
(1.02 m)
11 ft 0 in
(3.35 m)
21 reps
All values from NFL Combine/Florida State's Pro Day[22][23]

The Los Angeles Chargers selected James in the first round (17th overall) in the 2018 NFL Draft. James was the second safety drafted in 2018, behind Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (11th overall, Miami Dolphins).[24]

External video
video icon Chargers draft Derwin James 17th overall
video icon Derwin James' draft reaction
video icon James "I've got something to prove!"

On June 1, 2018, the Los Angeles Chargers signed James to a fully guaranteed four-year, $12.38 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $7.09 million.[25][26]


See also: 2018 Los Angeles Chargers season

James entered training camp slated as the starting strong safety, but suffered a hamstring injury that limited his progress.[27] He also saw competition for the role from veterans Adrian Phillips and Rayshawn Jenkins.[28] Head coach Anthony Lynn named James the starting strong safety to begin the regular season, alongside free safety Jahleel Addae.[29]

External video
video icon Derwin James picks off Jared Goff

He made his professional regular season debut and first career start in the Los Angeles Chargers' season-opener against the Kansas City Chiefs and recorded three combined tackles, broke up two passes, and made his first career sack on quarterback Patrick Mahomes in their 38–28 loss.[30] On September 23, 2018, James collected nine combined tackles, deflected a pass, and made his first professional interception during a 35–23 loss at the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3.[31] James made his first career interception off a pass attempt by Rams' quarterback Jared Goff, that was originally intended for tight end Gerald Everett, in the endzone during the second quarter.[32] On December 18, 2018 he was named to his first Pro Bowl in his rookie year.[33] On July 28, 2019 James was ranked No. 31 on the NFL Top 100 players of 2019 list.


On August 15, it was revealed that James had been dealing with a stress fracture in his right foot. The injury required surgery, requiring a maximum of three months to recover.[34] He was placed on injured reserve on September 1, 2019.[35] He was designated for return from injured reserve on November 25, 2019, and began practicing with the team again.[36] He was activated on November 30, 2019.[37]


On September 5, 2020, James was placed on season-ending injured reserve after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus.[38][39] He was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the team on December 15, 2020,[40] and moved back to injured reserve on January 7, 2021.[41]


James (#33) playing against the Baltimore Ravens in 2021.
James (#33) playing against the Baltimore Ravens in 2021.

The Chargers exercised the fifth-year option on James' contract on April 30, 2021,[42] which guarantees a salary of $9.05 million for the 2022 season.[43]


On August 17, 2022, James signed a four-year, $76.4 million contract extension with the Chargers, including $42 million in guaranteed money.[44][45]

NFL career statistics

Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Cmb Solo Ast Sck PD Int Yds Avg Lng TD FF FR
2018 LAC 16 16 105 75 30 3.5 13 3 30 0 23 0 0 0
2019 LAC 5 5 34 23 11 0.0 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
2020 LAC 0 0 Did not play due to injury
2021 LAC 15 15 118 75 43 2.0 5 2 20 10.0 15 0 3 0
Career 36 36 257 173 84 5.5 19 5 50 10.0 23 0 3 0

Personal life

James is a cousin of Vince Williams and Karlos Williams, both former Florida State Seminoles players, as well as Mike James, former Miami Hurricanes running back.[4] He is also the second cousin of former Miami Hurricanes and NFL star running back Edgerrin James.[46] He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.[47]


  1. ^ Hays, Chris. "Florida State gets junior day commit from Auburndale 2015 ATH Derwin James". Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  2. ^ Fredericksen, Brady. "Haines City's Derwin James pick No. 17 by Los Angeles Chargers in NFL draft". The Ledger. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  3. ^ "Derwin James, 2015 Safety". Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Long, Corey (February 29, 2012). "Derwin James first in his class". ESPN.
  5. ^ Clark, Corey. "Florida State football recruit Derwin James is a 'one of a kind'". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  6. ^ Becht, Colin. "Get to know Florida State's standout freshman Derwin James". Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  7. ^ Deen, Safid. "FSU's Derwin James becoming integral part of Seminoles defense". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  8. ^ "FSU's Derwin James setting high bar as rookie playmaker". Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  9. ^ Sonnone, Brendan. "FSU safety Derwin James is the country's top-rated freshman, and he's only getting better". Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  10. ^ "Instant impact: Freshman Derwin James a force on Florida State defense". My Palm Beach Post. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  11. ^ Zierlein, Lance (July 25, 2016). "Top 15 true sophomores in college football".
  12. ^ Goodbread, Chase. "Derwin James to miss five to seven weeks with knee injury". NFL. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  13. ^ "FSU's Derwin James declares for NFL draft, decides to skip bowl game". Palm Beach Coast News. Archived from the original on January 5, 2018. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  14. ^ Kercheval, Ben (December 5, 2017). "Florida State star Derwin James declares for NFL Draft, will skip bowl game". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  15. ^ "ICYMI: FSU's Derwin James declares for NFL draft, decides to skip bowl game". December 7, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  16. ^ Goodbread, Chase (March 5, 2018). "Derwin James validates freakish athletic reputation at Combine". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  17. ^ Coleman, James (April 23, 2018). "Derwin James' business decision to decline workout invitation from Bucs". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  18. ^ "Derwin James to have pre-draft visit with Packers, per report". April 5, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  19. ^ "*Derwin James, DS #1 FS, Florida State". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  20. ^ Mayock, Mike (April 24, 2018). "Mike Mayock's 2018 NFL Draft top 100 prospect rankings". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  21. ^ "The 2018 NFL Draft Big Board, Vol. 2". March 7, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  22. ^ "NFL Draft Prospect Profile - Derwin James". March 1, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  23. ^ "Florida State SS Derwin James : 2018 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile". Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  24. ^ Henne, Ricky (April 26, 2018). "Chargers Draft Dynamic FSU Safety Derwin James". Archived from the original on April 27, 2018.
  25. ^ "Chargers sign first-round safety Derwin James". NFL. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  26. ^ " Derwin James contract". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  27. ^ Patra, Kevin (August 28, 2018). "Chargers safety Derwin James closing in on starting gig". Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  28. ^ "Adrian Phillips continues to force his way onto field". August 6, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  29. ^ "Chargers release first "unofficial" depth chart". September 4, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  30. ^ "Chargers' Derwin James: Records first career sack". Retrieved October 3, 2018.
  31. ^ "Interception by Chargers safety Derwin James keeps Rams out of end zone". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  32. ^ "Chargers' Derwin James makes history through first 3 weeks". September 25, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  33. ^ "NFL reveals rosters for 2019 Pro Bowl in Orlando". December 18, 2018. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  34. ^ "Derwin James to have foot surgery". NFL. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  35. ^ Smith, Michael David (September 2, 2019). "Derwin James on injured reserve, out at least half the season". Pro Football Talk. NBC Sports.
  36. ^ Friedl, Ben (November 25, 2019). "Derwin James and Adrian Phillips "Pushing Each Other" Back from Injury". Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  37. ^ "Chargers Activate Derwin James and Adrian Phillips". November 30, 2019.
  38. ^ "Derwin James placed on IR following successful surgery". Bolts From The Blue. SB Nation. September 2, 2020.
  39. ^ "We've Trimmed Our Roster to 53". September 5, 2020. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  40. ^ Williams, Charean (December 15, 2020). "Chargers place Derwin James on COVID-19 list". Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  41. ^ Bouda, Nate (January 7, 2021). "Chargers Activate WR Keenan Allen, TE Hunter Henry & S Derwin James From COVID-19 List". Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  42. ^ Hayre, Chris (April 30, 2021). "Chargers Exercise Fifth-Year Option On Derwin James". Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  43. ^ "Chargers pick up 5th-year option on safety Derwin James". August 13, 2021.
  44. ^ Thiry, Lindsey (August 17, 2022). "Source: Chargers star James gets historic deal". Archived from the original on August 17, 2022. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  45. ^ Shook, Nick (August 17, 2022). "Chargers safety Derwin James signs four-year, $76.5 million extension". Archived from the original on August 17, 2022. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  46. ^ "Derwin James ESPN Football Recruiting". ESPN Football Recruiting. ESPN. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  47. ^ NFL Football San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Chargers, Carson, Ca, USA - 30 Sep 2018, retrieved August 16, 2022