By Adam Aniba
This year's cornerback class features at least four prospects who could be selected in the top 25. Although Cincinnati's Ahmad Gardner has received high-praise for his play and measurables, LSU's Derek Stingley Jr. is the premier cornerback prospect in the class. With only 10 games played over the last two years, some have forgotten just how dominate Stingley Jr was during the '19 season (6 ints and 15 passes defended)
Derek Stingley Jr.
6'0" 190 lbs | CB | LSU
1st Rd Grade Top 15
Career (25 games) 138 total tak (97 solo), 7.0 TFL, 6 ints 1 td, 20 PD, 2 FR
and 2 FF
2021 (3 games) 6 total tak (2 solo), 3.5 TFL & 1 FF
Stingley Jr. grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana attending The Dunham school, finishing with 27 career interceptions. As a senior, the defensive back was named Louisiana Gatorade Football Player of the Year.
Stingley Jr. was courted by every major team in the SEC as a 5-star recruit and was ranked as the No. 1 player in the 2019 recruiting class. He elected to stay in the his home state of Louisiana and play for LSU.
Stingley was apart of the 2019 National Champion LSU squad and was a big reason why the defense was so dominate with his 6 ints 15 passes defended and a fumble recovery.
His innate ability to be the aggressor in man-to-man situations, while mirroring receivers and playing the ball is what makes the LSU corner a blue chip prospect. Stingley Jr's 30 5/8" arms make him an ideal outside press corner with the ability to also display his instincts and speed in zone coverage.
His ability to anticipate routes, only further displays his instincts and overall attention to detail. This comes as no surprise, with LSU coaches and teammates highlighting his dedication in the film room.
Although Stingley Jr didn't participate in combine drills, he showed teams why he should be considered the the drafts top cover comer during his pro-day. The LSU corner has been recovering from 9/29/21 Lisfranc surgery, but looked every bit the top 10 prospect LSU fans remember at his pro day.
As a former 1st-Team All-SEC defensive back, his upside is undeniable, but teams will focus more on his medicals which could lead to a potential draft day slide. A Lisfranc injury has the potential to linger. The good news is cases of re-aggravation are down from years past and with the evolution of modern sports medicine, it is less of a major concern or career threatening injures.
It's expected that he'll be 100% by mid July, which is ahead of schedule. He should be ready to participate in preseason, but limiting him would be wise.
Fluid hips with the ability to mirror receivers might be his best attribute
Quick twitch ability to read, react & attack mentality
Excellent vs the run and can lay the wood
Tackling technique is refined and frequently looks for the strip
Excellent ball tracker when facing deep routes, led to impressive '19 int total
Although only 6'0", overall length is notable with 30 5/8" arms
Lisfranc surgery last September has to be closely monitored through the season
Game experience is a slight concern, missed a lot of games
Is a risk taker and can lead to chunk plays given up
2020-2021 showed some questionable effort plays (slight concern)
Missed tackles through concentration lapses are a slight issue, but did show up on tape every season
Some instances of bigger/stronger receivers out-muscling him in short/intermediate routes
Stingley Jr's strength as a man-to-man corner and versatility to also play in a zone scheme, make him an ideal fit for any team needing a help at cornerback. His ability to also be a force against the run and bounce around from the slot- FS when needed, only adds to his value as an overall prospect.
His hand usage is bar none the best in the class, always fighting through the ball looking for the strip/punch out. As a ball tracker, the LSU corner has the ceiling to be elite. Stingley Jr. rarely came up short in head-to-head 50/50 situations with his eyes and busy hands always active.
After playing in 15 games in '19 and recording 6 ints, the LSU CB has only been active in 10 games sense. Although LSU's pro day eased concerns for many teams, Stingley Jr could drop out of the top 10 and would represent phenomenal value for any team who selects him in that range.
*Games Watched- 9/21/19 vs VAN, 10/5 vs USU, 10/12 vs FLA, 10/26 vs AUB, 11/9 vs ALA, 1/13/21 vs CLEM (CFB NAT CHAMP), 11/21/21 vs ARK, 12/5 vs ALA, 9/4/21 vs UCLA, 9/11 vs MCN, 9/18 vs CMU
*Team Fits- WAS, NYG, PHI, CAR, SEA, MIN, BAL, NE and KC