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Derek Stingley Jr.
NFL Draft

What Derek Stingley Jr. Has to Prove at LSU Pro Day

  • Justin Melo
  • April 4, 2022
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According to multiple reports, LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.  has fully recovered from a Lisfranc injury and will participate in all drills during his Pro Day on Wednesday. The world renowned Dr. Robert Anderson has medically cleared Stingley, who has since been running and training at full speed. The foot injury had previously limited Stingley throughout the pre-draft process. He was unable to physically participate at the NFL Scouting Combine, but measured in officially at 6 feet, 190 pounds with an arm length greater than 30 inches.

All attention now turns to Wednesday’s Pro Day. Stingley now possesses a golden opportunity to rehabilitate his draft stock, which has somewhat suffered throughout the process, largely due to a lack of the desired sample size. A former five-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 1 player in the 2019 recruiting class, Stingley burst onto the scene while locking down one side of the field for LSU’s historic championship-winning team despite being a true freshman. Stingley’s 2019 play was that of a cover-man well beyond his years. Stingley led the Tigers defense in interceptions (six) and passes deflected (15), despite playing alongside more seasoned, NFL-bound defenders such as Kristian Fulton, Grant Delpit and Jacoby Stevens. Stingley was essentially the Ja’Marr Chase of LSU’s defense, a younger player that was so incredibly talented that he immediately fit in and stood out while sharing the field with his more experienced teammates.

The 2020 and 2021 campaigns unfortunately did not welcome more of the same for Stingley. The homegrown talent has appeared in just 10 games across the previous two seasons combined, and inconsistent play and injury riddled those showcases. With an incredibly deep pool of cornerback talent available in the 2022 NFL Draft, including Cincinnati’s Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, Washington’s Trent McDuffie and Clemson’s Andrew Booth Jr., it’s become increasingly difficult to forecast where Stingley fits into the first-round picture.

A monstrous performance during Wednesday’s Pro Day could help provide clarity. A uniquely gifted cornerback with a rare blend of size, speed and explosiveness, Stingley possesses the natural athletic tools to deliver some eye-popping results. Stingley has reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.30 seconds flat while recording a vertical jump of 42 inches in previous attempts. Assuming his clean bill of health is legitimate and Stingley has appropriately shaken off the injury-related rust, there’s zero reason to believe he can’t post similar numbers on Wednesday. During the on-field portion, which could be more important to Stingley’s overall evaluation, NFL decision-makers will want to see shades of the smooth, patient cover-man that popped up on tape consistently in 2019. Stingley, who hasn’t recorded an interception since his impressive freshman campaign, will have to showcase the natural ball skills that once helped make him the most promising cornerback prospect in the nation. The ability to sink his hips and naturally change direction shouldn’t be an issue on Wednesday and is another box Stingley can check as he prepares to make a late surge back into the top-10 of the draft.

Elite shutdown cornerbacks are constantly in high demand in today’s pass-happy league and at his best, Stingley possesses the length, speed, technique and overall athleticism necessary to match up with athletic boundary wide receivers at the next level. Wednesday’s ultra-important showcase could deliver the clarity NFL teams seek on Stingley’s current projection, for better or worse.

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Justin Melo