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Is Derek Stingley Jr. the Jets’ Corner of the Future?

The New York Jets shouldn't pick LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft because with his injury history, he could be a bust.

The biggest name in the 2022 NFL draft is LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.

His name is big because of the name he made for himself his freshman year at LSU—and his name is big because of his family history. 

Former Patriots’ wide receiver Darryl Stingley suffered a career ending spinal cord injury in 1978. That Darryl Stingley is Derek Stingley Jr.’s grandfather. 

The name is huge in the football world, as is the risk.

Can the Jets afford to use their first round draft pick on Stingley?

While defense wins championships and shut down corners are a premium, the answer is no. 

Stingley has his own checkered cloud of injuries to consider. It is nothing nearly as serious as his grandfather suffered, but the injuries are serious enough. 

READ: Jets Load Up on Defense in Latest ESPN Mock Draft

Stingley has only played in three games in the 2021 season for LSU, after re-aggravating a left foot injury that required a medical procedure. There is no set timetable for his return. 

This puts a big letter “M” next to his draft card that is up on NFL teams’ draft boards. 

The letter “M” is a red flag that stands for “Medical Concern.”

Having a foot injury for a corner is like having a problem with a tire on a sports car, only it is not always as quick of a fix. Nagging foot injuries can continue to be a problem, especially for a corner. It can be a problem pushing off, changing direction and jumping. The fact he tried to play with the injury, and could not, is highly concerning. 

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Stingley also missed time in 2020 with a lingering leg injury. While it is challenging to find details about his injuries from last season, there was also a report of an ankle sprain (vs. Missouri) and an illness that caused him to miss the opener last season (vs. Mississippi State). 

While Stingley is a grand temptation, the Jets need to pass on him. The “boom or bust,” on this guy is just too crazy. He is also not showing dominance in coverage, when tested this season either. 

There is also a steady decline in production to consider. 

Stingley has zero interceptions since 2019 and his passes defensed stats dropped from 15 (2019), 5 (2020) and 0 (2021), which is absolutely alarming. His tackling stats have also been on the steady decline—38 (2019), 27 (2020) to 8 (2021) is troubling too. 

NFL teams will also peak at Stingley’s dad’s athletic career. Derek Stingley Sr. bounced around a lot playing baseball and football. 

The biggest mistake a team can make is to also evaluate 2019 and 2020 game film, because that was before the injuries. It will only cause an overvaluing. 

#7 Derek Stingley Jr. 6-foot-1, 195 pounds 

40 yard-dash-time: 4.30 (profootballnetwork.com)

Games Reviewed in 2021: (9/4) UCLA, (9/11) McNesse (9/18) Central Michigan 

Grade: Mid-late 1st Round (MEDICAL) 

NFL comparable: Tom Carter, Lester Hayes 

Scouting Report: 


Imposing physical presence at corner with good straight-line speed, but has some visible tightness in coverage during 2021 games played. Will come up and be an imposing force against wide receivers. Good hand techniques. Long arms. He did not look fluid enough turning and flipping his hips to initially carry routes in tight man (UCLA and Central Michigan). Good vertical straight-line speed and excellent close back downhill. Did not show good enough burst or recovery speed when challenged vertically in coverage (or on stop and go). Best in zone and off man when he can keep receivers in front of him. Capable, but inconsistent providing run support. Strong and blow-up hitter when he decides to be. Flies in. Can close back downhill fast in support. All or nothing player who is an illogical risk. Vertical speed receivers with ability to break off routes quickly will be a problem in the NFL. 

Stingley was not tested a lot in the three games reviewed in 2021 out of respect for his ability, but two of the only times he was tested he gave up a touchdown (vs. UCLA) and he committed a pass interference, when he lost track of the ball deep against Central Michigan. He also had a holding penalty against McNeese. 

All things considered…

Stingley has raw ability, but the lingering medical history, the family history, the steady decline in production and what he put on film in 2021, there is a strong chance he could be a bust. 

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