Any real estate agent will tell you that location is their most important selling point, and Nasir Adderly couldn’t have landed in a better spot.
Adderly was a star defensive back at the University of Delaware and he managed to do what few mid-major college football players are able to accomplish – he became a top prospect in the NFL draft. Quite a few mock drafts had him being drafted in the first round and more than one had him going to the Eagles, which would have been fun.
But Adderly wasn’t drafted on Day 1 and he had to wait until Day 2 to hear his name called as the 60thoverall selection. That may have been a little disappointing – and it will be even more so when he and his agent negotiate his first NFL contract as a second-rounder instead of first-rounder – but he ended up in the perfect spot, and not just because the weather tends to be nice in Southern California.
Adderly was selected by the Los Angeles Chargers and there are a couple of big advantages to that, other than those sunny, 74-degree days.
For one, the Chargers have a good team – they went to the playoffs last season and advanced to the divisional round before losing to the New England Patriots, and they’ll be contenders again this season.
But the biggest plus is the position Adderly plays – he’ll be a free safety with the Chargers and has a great chance be an immediate starter, which doesn’t always happen with rookies, especially ones who come from smaller schools and played against lesser competition. Usually, those guys have to sit the bench for a couple of seasons while they make the adjustment to the big leagues and they earn their paychecks playing on special teams.
Adderly will probably play on special teams because he was so good at it at Delaware, but he’ll also be given every chance to crack the starting lineup as a rookie. Jahleel Addae started all 16 games at free safety for the Chargers last year, but he was released in the off-season, partially because of the salary cap. And even though there are a couple of holdovers who will compete for the spot – including former Eagle Jaylen Watkins – the Chargers would love to see Adderly win the job.
“The free safety spot is wide open. The starter is no longer here,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said. “Nasir was a player that we really coveted. His range is excellent and he has a good combination of foot speed and instincts.”
And if he does, he will team with strong safety Derwin James — who went to the Pro Bowl last season as a rookie – to give the Chargers a potent safety tandem for the next decade.
“We’re going to be one of the best safety duos in the league, I can promise you that,” Adderley told reporters on draft day. “I’m just really grateful to be in this position, [with] the whole defensive back room. I’m very excited to learn from those guys.”
The Chargers were excited when Adderly fell to them with the 60thoverall pick, because they expected the talented player to be long gone by then.
“We were shocked we were able to get him,” Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “He came in [before the draft] and had a great visit. We really enjoyed him. With his football knowledge and personality, he’ll be a great fit for our group.”
Adderly understands that there will be skeptics because of where he played his college football and he will have to prove that a kid from a small school can compete with the big boys.
“I know everyone has questions about that,” Adderley said. “I’m just confident in my ability. I know if I do all the little things and do what I’m supposed to do, I’m going to be just fine and be a great player in this league.”