And if by chance, they get lucky, rather if he gets lucky, Adderley could very well put himself in the position to compete for the starting job and play alongside second-year strong safety Derwin James.
But let’s just pump the brakes right there with the high expectations for the former Delaware star. Yes, the Chargers are high on Adderley or they would not have drafted him at the time slot that they did. However, Adderley won’t be waltzing his way into a starting spot. He will have to earn it the old-fashion way: on the field.
That means he will have to beat out Rayshawn Jenkins to be that guy playing on the other side of James.
“First of all, he has to come in and compete,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said after the team drafted Adderley. “We have [S] Rayshawn [Jenkins] at that position, [S] Jaylen [Watkins] at that position, so it’s not like he’s a day-one starter or anything like that, but we like what we saw on tape. This young man has a lot of range. He’s a good tackler. He’s got good ball skills. We just think he’s going to bring much-needed depth to our secondary after losing [S] Jahleel [Addae].”
That may or may not happen, but training camp is a good way to find out real quick. So far, so good for the 6-foot, 206-pound Adderley. A couple of practices in and Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley likes what he sees from the rookie.
“He’s been doing a good job,” Bradley said after Day 4 of the team’s training camp practice. “You [saw] him back here today, he made a couple of good plays and then [there was] one that he has to learn from. It’s like back-and-forth, but more good than bad. I think it’s a whole new system compared to what he had in college and a whole new position. There are some growing pains right there, but the progress that he’s making at this point, we’re pleased.”
Adderley’s uniqueness as a defensive back is his rangy gate, long arms and his knack to instinctively fly around the ball. It turns out that this habit runs in the family. Adderley’s cousin, Herb Adderley, played 12 seasons in the NFL and is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame family.
“He’s my grandfather’s cousin,” Nasir Adderley said at his introductory press conference back in April. “It’s a blessing. He has helped me out tremendously over my career just in terms of — not only on the field, but off the field. I mean, he’s been extremely supportive of me and genuinely happy for me. He’s just as excited as I am. Ultimately, he just wanted the best fit for me. He spoke it into existence. He said that he felt like the Chargers were going to make it happen. We’re very happy.”
The family dynamic that links both men as defensive backs is about getting near an close to the football. During his NFL career, Herb Adderley did that plenty of times, coming down with 48 interceptions. Judging by his collegiate career, Nasir Adderley could very well be traveling down the same path to football glory as his cousin did.
He’s got a long way to go to get to that point. But the trait of being a ball-hawk, a moniker that Herb Adderley was affectionately labeled with, has shown up already from Nasir, Bradley said.
“He made a great play yesterday that showed that ‘ball-hawk.’ One of the things that we ask from that free safety position is the ability to have a lot of range, to cover a lot of ground, but also to make that tackle,” Bradley said. “I think we also need to see his angles and approach. He had a couple today that he could work on. I think, when we get into a scrimmage situation like against the Rams, we’ll get a chance to check that out. He definitely has the [ability] to cover from red line to red line.”