2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Derek Stingley Jr.by Charlie Parent December 8, 2021 5 comments
Derek Stingley Jr. has been on almost every scout’s radar since the day he enrolled at LSU. He was once regarded as the best high school cornerback of the decade and a generational prospect. Stingley followed up the high school hype by dominating in his freshman year, starting on that historic 2019 LSU squad. Now, Stingley’s stock has decreased just a tad since he came to Death Valley but many still regard him as a top-five prospect and the top cornerback in this incredible class. Let’s see if Stingley lives up to the hype.
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Name: Derek Stingley Jr.
Jersey: No. 7
Weight: 194 lbs
Games Watched: UCLA (2021), Vanderbilt (2020), Alabama (2020), Alabama (2019), Georgia (2019)
Major Injury History: Foot Surgery (2021)
Man Coverage (12.75/15)
Many regard Stingley as the best man corner we’ve seen in years. This is simply not true. Against weaker receivers, he’s great. Against Vanderbilt, who barely even targeted him, and UCLA he locked down the receivers. Playing against the likes of Georgia and Alabama however, he got murdered. Yes, in the Georgia game he had two picks but he was often beat in on and off-man coverage and allowed guys to get a step on him, even if they didn’t make the catch.
Then, we have the two Alabama games. Both times Stingley played Alabama he was tasked heavily with DeVonta Smith and saw reps against John Metchie, Jaylen Waddle, and Henry Ruggs. These guys destroyed him, especially Smith. Smith went over 200 yards twice and Stingley could not stay on pace. Overall, Stingley is not the man coverage corner lots of people think but there’s obvious potential and something he can improve later on.
Zone Coverage (13.25/15)
We’ve mentioned how all of Stingley’s hype is focused on man so people would not expect this but he’s actually very good in zone. Maybe Stingley’s best attribute, and his most underrated, is his overall football IQ. Stingley understands his zone and always plays it to a tee. In the Georgia game, there was a particular intermediate third down where Stingley was in zone and allowed the receiver to catch the ball short so he could come up and make the tackle.
He has shown some inconsistencies, however, and one of these came in the Alabama game (2020). The Tide lined up in their lethal bunch sets and Stingley was unable to comprehend the concept coming at him in his zone, allowing a touchdown. Now, this is still one play and Stingley is still very good in zone, just can’t overlook the big mistakes.
Here we go with what makes Stingley a good corner. He’s super quick to break onto the ball when it’s thrown and uses his elite closing speed to make a play. Not only is he good when the ball is in the air, but Stingley has shown a really good ability to bait a quarterback into throwing at him and most of the time intercepting the pass. He gets a one-point downgrade because he can be a little slow off of some breaks but it’s mostly smooth sailing in terms of instincts.
Ball Skills (10/10)
This is far and away Stingley’s best attribute. The two interceptions against Georgia showed his versatile ball skills as well. One was a floater on a go route where Stingley had to track the ball in and made a really nice twist to secure the pass while keeping the receiver out of the play. The second was on an intermediate outside route where Stingley was coming downhill and snagged it right from the receiver.
There was one play against Smith in 2020 where Smith probably made the catch of the year and Stingley was unable to high point the football. However, on a second glance, it was probably a push-off from Smith that didn’t allow him to make a play. In his freshman and sophomore years, Stingley wracked up six interceptions and 20 passes defended with all six picks coming in 2019 and 15 deflections that year as well. It’s clear Stingley’s ball skills are generational. Just about every NFL team would be happy to get their hands on this ballhawk.
Press/ Physicality (7.5/10)
Man coverage is a very interesting section for Stingley. When he executes it well, he’s great throughout the rep but there are often times he doesn’t execute it well. The biggest area of concern is that Stingley does not get his hands up right away. It’s a mistake that’s been constant throughout his reps and he’s gotten burned for it many times. Other times, he’s just swiped his hands at the receiver and the wideout pushes them right aside, allowing the said receiver to get into his route easily.
Separate from hands, Stingley is a very strong overall corner. He outmuscles guys at the point of the catch constantly and you can tell he likes to scrap, but for some reason not really all too well at the line of scrimmage.
Long Speed (9/10)
Another one of Stingley’s best areas. There’s not all too much to get into because Stingley is just really polished with this trait. He’s almost always step for step with a receiver and looks like he’s not even trying when mirroring go routes with some pass-catchers. The reason he loses points is once again because of how badly exposed he was against Alabama. Those two games were really the only ones where there were glaring long speed issues but it shouldn’t be a concern come Sundays.
Tackling/ Run Support (8.5/10)
Corners are never extraordinary tacklers but Stingley has a really fun style of tackling, you could say. The first notable play of the Georgia game saw him getting hurdled, which gives a bitter taste to the mouth but the rest of his tackling is pretty clean minus some misses here and there. It was nice to see LSU line him up practically in the box to get physical and assist in run support and there are other times where he’s blitzed from the slot and wrapped up the ball carrier in an instant.
Stingley is not Kaiir Elam when it comes to athleticism but it’s sneaky and it’s evident throughout all his games. We already mentioned the long speed and the strength but Stingley has an irate jumping ability that allows him to get up with the biggest of defenders and knock the ball out at the point of the catch. The athleticism won’t make your jaw drop but it’s just so clean and expect him to put up really nice numbers at the combine.
Change of Direction (4.75/5)
Once again, Stingley is a small step behind Elam in this category. One thing that stands out, however, is that his change of direction and hips are very smooth. Elam’s are generational and the best in the class, while Stingley’s are a solid second so far. Sometimes, especially in his later seasons, Stingley was a little clunky in overall movement but the hips are just super clean and flip very well, whether he’s making an adjustment deep or over the middle.
At a solid 6’1″, Stingley has some pretty nice length. Naturally, it’s not going to be incredible just because of how tall he is but it’s definitely up to an NFL standard. The knock here is that even though he can jump up and high point a ball, sometimes Stingley just comes a little short against bigger receivers due to his length. However, this isn’t something that should be looked into too much as a concern.
At the top, we asked if the hype was worth it and we can confidently say… not really. Stingley is a very good football player with a high upside and had an absurd freshman campaign but like some other LSU players, including Grant Delpit, Stingley sort of just went down a touch in his next two seasons. With all of this being said, Stingley is still a first-rounder. Look for him to be a top 10-15 pick due to the overall potential he packs.
Rookie Projection: Borderline Starting Outside Corner
Third-Year Projection: Starting Outside Corner, Potentially top-15
Final Grade (87.75/100): Mid-First Round
Pro Comp: Marshon Lattimore
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images