The Los Angeles Chargers hope they have found a free safety to pair with All-Pro Derwin James.
The Chargers selected Delaware safety Nasir Adderley with the 60th overall pick in the second round Friday night.
Adderley was considered by many to be the highest-ranked safety in this year’s draft class but was the fourth one to come off the board. That was just fine for general manager Tom Telesco, who had Adderley in for a pre-draft visit.
“All I was telling people after my visit was how it was a perfect fit and how I enjoyed my meetings with the coaching staff,” Adderley said.
James made an instant impact last season at strong safety and was an Associated Press All-Pro selection. The Chargers did not have a true free safety last season.
Jahleel Addae started all 18 games at free safety last season but was released before free agency started. The biggest reason the Chargers released him was that he was better suited as a strong safety.
Rayshawn Jenkins and Jaylen Watkins also can play free safety, but both are unproven.
Adderley was a four-year starter at Delaware. He had 87 tackles last season along with four interceptions and seven passes defensed. He played cornerback his first two seasons before switching to free safety.
Adderley said he patterns his game after Baltimore’s Earl Thomas, whom Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley knows very well. Bradley was Seattle’s defensive coordinator during Thomas’ first three seasons (2010-12) with the Seahawks.
“Once I went to free safety, everything started clicking,” he said. “I think I add physicality and competitiveness.”
Adderley, who had 11 interceptions during his college career, is the highest-drafted player from Delaware since Joe Flacco went 18th overall to Baltimore in 2008. The Blue Hens have had three players drafted since Flacco, but one went in the fourth round and the other two were selected in the fifth round.
“We’re incredibly excited for Nasir and his family to get this opportunity. This is a privilege that very few young men get and we’re proud to see all the hard work Nasir put in pay off,” UD head coach Danny Rocco said. “Nasir accomplished a lot during his four years here on campus and we can’t wait to watch him on Sundays.”
Adderley is the cousin of Pro Football Hall of Famer Herb Adderley, who won three Super Bowl titles with the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys.
“He helped me tremendously by being a positive role model. I don’t know where I would be without him,” Nasir Adderley said.