NFL games in London began in 2007, yet it still feels like a unique concept. For NFL players, playing across the pond on an international stage gives another chance to grow a new fan base and to witness the best of the best show up, and show out.
Derwin James’ London debut against the Tennessee Titans in Week 7 was outstanding. It’s official, this NFL rookie can ball.
If there ever was a test to define how well a rookie has adapted to the grueling NFL schedule, it would be a London game. The traveling, time adjustment and overall ambiance of a foreign country have to be a drain on a football player, let alone a rookie. So, to witness James play at his usual energetic tempo across the Atlantic Ocean was a great sign of how well he has acclimated to the NFL.
The Rookie Impression
Pre-packaged NFL caliber safeties fresh out of the college box are a rarity. It wasn’t a guarantee that James as a 2018 1st round 17th overall pick by the Los Angeles Chargers would make a big impact so quickly. London spectators got a great taste of what exceptional safety play in the NFL is all about.
James is still learning the safety position, meaning rookie mistakes will be made. But he brings a level of bravado to the Chargers Defense that is quite refreshing.
As the NFL reaches it’s midway point for the 2018 season, James reel of outstanding play continues to grow. In London he accounted for five solo tackles and three assisted tackles, being extremely active at his position. His closing speed was highlighted by a touchdown-saving tackle on a marvelous run by Titans running back Dion Lewis near the goal line.
The Chargers have something special at the safety position. James is looking like the player so many people thought he would turn out to be coming out of Florida State. Chargers fans can look forward to elite level talent and dependability at a position that they desperately needed to upgrade. London was a great test for James. He not only passed that test, but he and the Chargers also left London with another satisfying victory.