What the Vikings Would Get with LSU CB in 1st Round of NFL Draft
The Minnesota Vikings have glaring holes in their cornerback room outside of Cameron Dantzler — and there´s a good chance they want to upgrade the position in the NFL Draft on April 28th.
One of the most coveted players in the entire draft is LSU Cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. The just 20-year-old superstar won the National Championship as a teammate of star quarterback Joe Burrow in 2020 against Trevor Lawrence and the Clemson Tigers.
A Star at a Young Age
Stingley attended The Dunham School in his hometown, Baton Rouge. Playing additional snaps receiver and special teams, the cornerback finished his high school career with 27 interceptions. Rivals.com named him the top player in the country and 247sports.com ranked him 3rd. As a senior in 2018, DSJ was named Mr. Football in Louisiana. The highly-recruited player committed to playing his college career at home, at LSU.
The star defensive back hit the ground running as he immediately earned a starting spot. He was targeted 94 times but allowed only 36 receptions for 624 yards and led the SEC with six interceptions. The National Champion was named consensus All-American, and he earned a ridiculous high PFF grade of 91.7. Stingley only played seven games in his sophomore season.
In the Covid-shortened season, an ankle injury made him miss two games, and due to an illness, he missed another one, while his PFF grade dropped to 72.1. The defensive back appeared in only three games in his last season in 2021 because he suffered a lisfranc injury, better known as a broken foot. His PFF grade dropped even further to just 66.6.
The biggest strength in Stingley´s game is just his pure athleticism, as his combination of speed and agility are elite. Not just elite in his draft class, but elite in the NFL, and it shows on tape.
He possesses elite man coverage skills, and paired with his change of direction and recovery speed, and he´s almost unfair press-man coverage. His zone coverage ability is not on the same level, but it´s still really good because his elite instincts and ball skills take over. He´s a threat to intercept the pass whenever he´s targeted. Stingley has good size for a CB, as his measurements are exactly 6 feet and almost 200 pounds.
Like many young players in his position group, he needs to work on his tackling ability. He misses too many of them, and he has to improve his tackling form. On some plays, especially in run support, he shows a lack of effort. His biggest question mark is his injury history. When a player misses games in back-to-back seasons, it always leads to some raised eyebrows and questions asked.
Draft and Career Outlook
My grade for him: 90.75 – top 10 pick. In the latest mock drafts, pundits draft Stingley in the mid-teens. His injury concerns may have him falling, but his talent is undeniable. He is 100% cleared and intends to participate on his pro day. His testing numbers might open some eyes and catapult his draft stock back to past heights.
Stingley has the potential to be an all-pro Cornerback in the NFL, but his draft position will be decided by team doctors, and the risk teams are willing to take. If the Vikings draft him, he would not only be an immediate upgrade but also help the team a lot in the attempt to bring the defense back to respectable levels.