Nasir Adderley making strides towards big season for Chargers

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There was the sense that safety Nasir Adderley was going to make a leap in Brandon Staley’s scheme when he took the Chargers’ head coach position.

Adderley, the 2019 second-round pick, did just that.

After having his rookie season hampered by an injury and experiencing highs and lows under former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley in his sophomore season, Adderley finally came into his own in Year 3.

Utilized as a deep safety, in the slot, and in the box, Adderley made plays in coverage and showed improvement as a tackler in open space, something he struggled with early on in his career.

Adderley played with more aggressiveness, the athleticism to match skill players, and the ability to anticipate well and trust his diagnosis skills to put himself in a position to make plays.

“You’re able to look at the quarterback’s tendencies,” Adderley said on Staley’s scheme. “You’re able to look at where the receivers align and the down-and-distances and all of that. When you’re not thinking about what you have to do, you’re able to look at a lot more.

As a result, Adderley set career-highs in tackles (99), tackles for loss (3), passes defended (5), and forced fumbles (1).

While he was around the football a lot in coverage and had opportunities for a few interceptions, Adderley did not produce a single takeaway. For reference, he had 11 interceptions in his college career at Delaware.

Adderley has two picks at training camp. While Derwin James has sat out since the start of camp amid contract extension negotiations, Adderley has been the standout of the safety group.

“He’s earning it in camp here,” Staley said of Adderley. “He’s really flashing in the run game and in the pass game. Little things — command before the ball is snapped, helping his teammates out.”

Entering his fourth season, Adderley will play an integral role in a loaded secondary next to James, which features All-Pro J.C. Jackson and second-year Asante Samuel Jr.

With a revamped front that is bound to cause consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks, an advanced understanding of the scheme, and his unique skillset, Adderley’s ball production should increase.

Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire