BATON ROUGE – If college football had done it alone, front-page cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. from LSU to enter his third season in the NFL in 2022. He was approaching his second contract after signing for $ 33.5 million over four years with a $ 21.9 million signing bonus in 2020.
In the LSU 15-0 National Championship in 2019, Stingley was the consensus of the All-American main team after leading the Southeast Division by six breaks and was no. 2 nationwide in passes that were defended with 21 under Defense Director Dave Aranda. He would probably have been the first cornerback to be selected in 3rd place in the first round in 2020 after LSU defender Joe Burrow to Cincinnati and Ohio State defender Chase Young to Washington.
But since he was unavailable, Detroit cornerback Jeff Okudah of Ohio State took the third pick in the first round and paid him that $ 33.5 million over four years with a $ 21.9 million signature bonus.
As Stingley had to stay at LSU through his junior season in 2021, he was not eligible for the competition until this year on April 28. He ran a great 4.37 hours in the 40-yard freestyle on Professional Day at LSU on Wednesday and looked great. in the various exercises too.
But he is no longer considered to be in the top five and could even fall out of the top 10 and reach the middle of the draft. He has not stopped broadcasting since 2019 and has only played in 10 games since then.
“He’s now in the top 10-12,” Mike Detillier, an expert on the NFL draft, told WWL Radio in New Orleans on Wednesday. “Derek would have been the third overall pick in 2020. He was a better option then than Okudah. He was the leading rookie cornerback in the 36 years I’ve covered LSU. But for a professional scout, head coach and general manager, it’s about his long-term health and availability. “
For that reason, he could drop in the second half of the first round and earn $ 15.6 million in four years with a $ 8.7 million signature bonus, which is what Alabama quarterback Mac Jones chose in 15th place in first place. traffic last year.
Since the summer of 2020, Stingley’s shares have fallen, as well as in the LSU football program.
Shortly after LSU won it all in 2019, Aranda became Baylor’s head coach.
Then Stingley got a strangely sudden illness the night before LSU 2020’s inaugural season against Mississippi State and missed the game. Mississippi State defender KJ Costello threw for the SEC record 623 yards in a 44-34 victory and LSU collapsed in a 5-5 season with the worst defense in the school’s history under Bo Pelini.
Stingley’s mysterious illness has never been officially confirmed. It was only said that he had an “allergic reaction”. He returned to the squad for the next seven games, but after a 3-5 start for the Tigers, he was sidelined for the last two games of the season due to an ankle injury.
Stingley and LSU got a new defensive coach in 2021, former Minnesota Vikings head coach Daronte Jones, but he had no major experience as a university defense director, which soon became apparent. And Stingley also never started as he suffered a painful Lisfranc joint injury to his left foot during training sessions. The Lisfranc injury is basically a torn ligament in the middle of the leg.
Stingley suffered an injury in the first three games of the 2021 season, but increased his injury in training on September 22, underwent surgery and missed the season. He was given permission to prepare for the 2022 draft just three weeks ago.
He was asked on Wednesday how long he had been 100 percent healthy.
“Uh, 100 percent? “Uh, uh, it’s a few days,” he said.
And he ran at 4.37 at 40!
“I can run faster than that,” he said. “I do not feel any pain, so I’m fine. I just wanted to show that nothing has changed in the last year. All the teams saw how I moved after I showed them that I’m still me. Everything will be fine. “
Some believe that Stingley will still be close to the top five.
“It could be in eighth place early,” said Eric Galko of the OptimumScouting.com service on Wednesday, who is recovering from a fall. “Top 20 Locks.”
The NFL teams are still very interested. There were representatives from all 32 teams at LSU on Wednesday, including defensive coaches from Arizona, Atlanta, Detroit, the Los Angeles Chargers, the New York Giants, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Seattle. But all the attention may be due to the questions. Teams tend not to want to waste a high selection on a player with a history of injury.
“When you choose this way, you are looking for the most talented and pure option you can choose. The question about him is to be available for 17 game seasons. That is what is letting him go, “said Detillier.
“Right now, I’m not even focused on that,” Stingley said. “I’m focused on those visits that come up with NFL teams. I’ve had many hits (with NFL teams) – nine. “
There are many questions surrounding Stingley. For the first time, he probably could have played those last two games in 2020. And should he have tried to play that fast after the foot injury? He played the first three games last season and made the injury worse. He did not seem interested in talking about his LSU days on Wednesday.
“It was good,” he said only when asked about his experience at LSU, as it was his last day on LSU’s indoor training ground.
He was then asked if he could explain further. “It was good,” he replied.
By finishing college football, this interview could have been more enjoyable two years ago at this time with the perfect period of just over two months being removed and free of long-term injury questions.
“Injuries, trying to play through the foot injury that affected his game, and the very questionable new defender’s defense plan after Dave Aranda left, took their toll,” said Detillier.
Stingley has never looked like he did in 2019. Not even LSU, which fired coach Ed Orgeron less than two years after the national title and replaced him with Brian Kelly from Notre Dame.
“He is well-suited for a variety of area covers, but needs to play with much better enthusiasm and toughness in running support,” says a draft from NFL.com.
Stingley is going to prove this wrong and it came up when he spoke to Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley on Wednesday.
“He just told me the reason he came out here was to see if I still had the will and just the energy to go out and play,” Stingley said. “When he saw it, he said it was what he was waiting to see and that is what many are trying to see. They do not worry about it. They know what I am. “