The NFL recently released an update on the Pro Bowl voting results, and safety Derwin James is the only member of the Los Angeles Chargers leading the fan vote at his respective position. Additionally, the league announced the top-five teams in votes received, and the Chargers did not make the list.
Derwin James Is Los Angeles Chargers Lone Pro Bowl Vote Leader
Derwin James A Worthy Selection
It’s hard to argue against Derwin James leading the league in safety votes. The former first-round pick has been nothing short of remarkable this season. Starting in all 12 games, James has recorded four sacks, 106 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, five quarterback hits, and one interception.
The raw metrics are great, and the advanced numbers tell a similar story. According to Pro Football Focus, James has a 76.1 overall grade, good for 13th-best in the league. Additionally, he’s saved his best football for last, as James earned November Defensive Player of the Month honors for his insane play.
— Los Angeles Chargers (@chargers) December 1, 2022
James has always been one of the best safeties in the league when healthy. If selected, this will be James’ third Pro Bowl in four seasons, as injuries limited him to just five games in his lone season without a Pro Bowl berth. He truly is one of the best young playmakers in the game, and that contract he signed prior to the season is already looking like a bargain.
Other Potential Chargers Pro Bowl Selections
Unfortunately, it’s hard to imagine any other members of the Chargers making it as anything other than a Pro Bowl alternate. Justin Herbert certainly has the talent to earn the honors, but his relatively inconsistent play makes him an unworthy candidate this year. Of course, most of the issue there lies with the woefully inept Joe Lombardi, but that’s a story for another day.
Injuries have prevented guys like Rashawn Slater or Keenan Allen from standing a chance in the Pro Bowl vote, which leaves Austin Ekeler as most likely Charger to earn a Pro Bowl nod. Derrick Henry is currently leading AFC running backs in the voting, and deservedly so, but it’s entirely possible Ekeler makes it as an alternate.
Through 12 games, Ekeler has been his usual reliable self, handling the vast majority of the work in both the passing and running game. On the ground, the former undrafted free agent has recorded 589 yards and seven touchdowns on 138 carries (4.3 YPC), while he’s also added another 85 receptions for 564 yards and five touchdowns through the air. While he hasn’t been quite as efficient as in previous years, his 17th-best PFF grade proves that the issue is not with Ekeler, but rather the entire offense as a whole.
It’s worth noting that the Pro Bowl selections are not entirely determined by the fan vote. While it certainly plays a large role, the final selections also factor in player and coach votes, so it is possible that the winner of the fan vote will not end up earning a Pro Bowl nod. In the case of Derwin James, however, that seems unlikely.