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Derek Stingley Jr
NFL Draft

Derek Stingley Jr. Reminded Us Why He’s An Elite Prospect

  • Carmen Vitali
  • April 7, 2022
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LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. is fine.

Not like the Ross from Friends meme fine. Not like the cartoon dog in a burning down house fine.

Actually, after running a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at LSU’s pro day, he’s a little more than fine.

Stingley has spent the last several months recovering from a Lisfranc injury suffered on the first day of camp prior to the 2021 Tigers season. He played the first three games on it before it finally became too much to bear after a win over Central Michigan.

That’s when the real work began.

Stingley has rehabilitated his foot at two different Exos facilities—one in Pensacola, Fla. and one in Dallas, Texas—he revealed on Wednesday in Baton Rouge. He had been medically cleared as of about three weeks ago, he told reporters. That’s when he upped his training routine specifically for his pro day drills, which included the 40-yard dash, the vertical jump, broad jump, and field work.

Despite only those three solid weeks of training, and by his own admission only feeling 100% for a couple days, Stingley passed with flying colors. His first pass at the 40-yard dash was his best, clocking the aforementioned 4.37, according to the LSU timers. He ran it a second time, motivated to run under a 4.3, but instead ended up with a 4.44—which is still impressive, mind you.

“I popped up at the beginning,” he said. “That was it.”

Stingley also recorded a 38.5-inch vertical and a 10-foot-2-inch broad jump. In case those numbers don’t mean much to you on their own, that would have ranked fourth in the vertical and eighth in the broad jump at the NFL Scouting Combine among cornerbacks. His 40 time would have ranked fifth.

In his field work, Stingley looked fluid and natural. He snapped his hips at the appropriate time, backpedaled smoothly, and showed off his natural pass-catching ability to NFL teams, most of which looked to be in attendance in some capacity on Wednesday. Stingley even got time with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and Chargers head coach Brandon Staley.

In short, Stingley is who everyone thought he was from the beginning of his LSU tenure. He was a back-to-back First-Team All-American in 2019 and 2020, a feat accomplished only twice before by Tiger cornerbacks. As a freshman, he led the SEC with six interceptions, including two in the SEC Championship win over Georgia.  Stingley started all 15 games of that first season, amassing a whopping 21 passes defensed, 38 total tackles, one for loss, in addition to those interceptions.

His sophomore season, though he again earned All-America honors, was a stunted one. Stingley started/played in just seven games that season, racking up 27 total tackles, 2.5 of which went for a loss and he forced a fumble.

He’d play just the first three games of his junior season before the Lisfranc injury sidelined him. With his production levels dipping the last two seasons, Stingley had seen an ensuing rise in question marks from the NFL world he is now about to enter. But those questions were largely answered thanks to a stellar pro day in Baton Rouge.

The concerns weren’t really about his athletic ability—that was never in doubt—but more about how he would bounce back from injury. That is what was answered on Wednesday in Baton Rouge at the Charles McLendon Practice Facility. 

“[Teams] just wanted me to come out here and be me,” Stingley said. “That’s what I did.

“They know what I am.”

And what Stingley likely is after posting the numbers he did and flashing the talent he has at LSU, is a top 15 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

So yeah, he’s fine.

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Carmen Vitali