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Derek Stingley Jr. is NFL Draft’s most boom-or-bust prospect

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There might not be a extra polarizing participant on this 12 months’s NFL draft than LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. 

The 20-year-old had an incredible freshman season in 2019 with six interceptions and 15 move breakups to assist the Tigers to the nationwide title. However he has solely performed in 10 video games during the last two injury-filled years, has no interceptions in that point and NFL groups must surprise about his sturdiness. 

“I discover this one to be terribly robust,” former Jets GM and present ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum stated, “and I’d a lot fairly be within the media making this determination than an actual one as a result of that is one that basically retains you up at evening. If in three years, we stated that he was one of many two or three finest soccer gamers from this draft, I wouldn’t be stunned and if we stated in two or three years there have been questions on his sturdiness, I wouldn’t be stunned. That’s what makes the draft course of so tough.” 

Stingley was extensively thought-about to be the very best cornerback on this 12 months’s draft class going into the 2021 season. However he suffered a Lisfranc harm and had surgical procedure on his foot on Sept. 29, lacking all however three video games. Stingley’s draft inventory has fallen and many individuals now fee Cincinnati’s Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner forward of him. Stingley has gone from being a surefire top-10 decide to somebody who may slip into the late teenagers or possibly even the 20s.

Derek Stingley Jr.
Derek Stingley Jr. on the NFL Mix.
AP

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. nonetheless believes Stingley is the very best cornerback on this class. 

“Stingley, Jr. was a lock-down nook as an 18-year-old true freshman in 2019 when LSU gained a nationwide title and completed 15-0,” Kiper stated through electronic mail. “He additionally went up in opposition to Ja’Marr Chase daily in apply that very same 12 months. They’d some epic battles. COVID hit in 2020 and he was injured in 2021 and compelled to close it down early on because of the harm. 

“He’s a number of years eliminated now from that one nice season, that’s why Sauce Gardner has moved forward of Stingley, Jr. on some analysts boards. I actually like Gardner, however am sticking with Stingley, Jr., supplied there are not any points with the harm which we gained’t know for positive till his professional day.” 

That professional day is on Wednesday, six months from Stingley’s surgical procedure. He was unable to take part in drills on the NFL Scouting Mix, however now groups will get to see how wholesome he’s. Stingley shouldn’t be missing in confidence. 

“I do know myself and I do know that once I’m at the very best model of myself, I’m the best,” Stingley stated on the mix. 

NFL GMs might not be so positive. Tannenbaum stated the chance issue could also be too nice for groups selecting within the prime 10. 

Derek Stingley Jr. intercepts a pass during a 2019 game against Auburn.
Derek Stingley Jr. intercepts a move throughout a 2019 recreation in opposition to Auburn.
USA TODAY Sports activities

“He has unimaginable skill, however while you’re selecting excessive, you wish to verify as many packing containers as doable and the truth that he’s performed in 10 video games in two years, that offers me plenty of concern,” Tannenbaum stated. 

Kiper stated groups can have a tricky name to make. 

“Stingley, Jr. does present a tough analysis,” Kiper stated. “You at all times need a participant drafted early to complete robust each by way of the common season in addition to the complete draft course of. That wasn’t the case with Stingley, Jr., however was the case with Gardner.” 

Kiper believes Stingley may go to the Jets at No. 10 or shortly after that. 

“Washington or Minnesota can be wonderful touchdown spots for Stingley, Jr.,” Kiper stated. “Identical for the New York Jets, who choose at 10. Washington is at 11 and Minnesota is at 12. The Jets want a real #1 lockdown CB and Washington and Minnesota have CB as one in all their main wants.”