Why the Seahawks won't draft LSU CB Derek Stingley, Jr.
At his LSU pro day on Wednesday, Stingley affirmed that he's not a typical top-10 pick
The Seattle Seahawks were in attendance at LSU’s pro day on Wednesday, and I think I know which elite prospect they were most interested in seeing up close…
Kicker Cade York.
York made 54-of-66 field goals at LSU, including 33-of-39 in the last two years, and 75-of-75 on PATs in that time. It’s not the sexiest move in the world to draft a kicker and that’s not something Seattle has done many times in the past, but the Seahawks do probably have a need to fit there in the near future.
What I would be absolutely floored by is not drafting a kicker in round seven, but taking Derek Stingley, Jr. in round one. In previous epi-Joe-de’s, I’ve told you that you can cross of Charles Cross, Tyler Linderbaum and Malik Willis from your Seahawks first round big board.
Thanks to referencing that game plan, and knowing that Stingley doesn’t meet most of the requirements that a team would be looking for in a top-10 cornerback, I believe we can now add him to the list of “top-ranked prospects” who won’t end up with the Seahawks. I have no smoking gun, only mounds of evidence over 12 years of Seattle following virtually the same game plan year after year.
That evidence points to the Seahawks avoiding Derek Stingley, Jr. in the draft.
He’s not an elite athlete
Stingley ran an UNOFFICIAL 4.37 40-yard dash at his pro day (pro day numbers are always somehow better than combine numbers), which is the number he and his agents were certainly hoping to hit because fans/media believe that this is the end-all, be-all. A 4.37 at 190 lbs essentially puts Stingley in the same camp as previous top-20 picks Marshon Lattimore, Jaire Alexander, and Justin Gilbert. His second time was only 4.44:
However, Stingley’s 38.5” vertical is more like average and his 122” broad jump is well below the average for any first round cornerback; the team that picks Stingley in the first round will have to hope that his pro day numbers are not indicative of a mediocre career, as was the case for Tre’Davious White in 2017 when he had a 119” broad and a 32” vertical.
But we are not talking about Derek Stingley as a late-first round prospect or a day two pick. People are talking about Stingley as a top-10 pick, if not top-five. That’s typically where elite athletes go and while the media has been referencing him as belonging to that category, I don’t see it anywhere on the recent record:
Stingley has elite athletic ability and a player who has the potential to be a superstar cornerback in the NFL with his equally impressive technique and ball skills that were on display during his freshman season. In 2019, Stingley was a consensus All-American after a six interception season that also included 15 passes defended, locking down some of the most talented players in the country.
An elite athlete is Byron Jones. An elite athlete is Denzel Ward. And elite athlete is Jalen Ramsey. Two years ago, Jeff Okudah posted a worse 40 than Stingley (4.48) but he had a 41” vertical and a 135” broad jump.
Derek Stingley is not an elite athlete by NFL standards. He’s a really good athlete. So in order for “real good athletes” to be drafted in the top-10 or top-20, they have to check the boxes in a number of other key areas.
Derek Stingley does not do that.
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His arms are too short
This has been a back-and-forth with Seattle fans since the days that Richard Sherman became a fifth round Hall of Famer in large thanks to an emphasis on his unique size, length, and athleticism. We’ve held up the 32” arm length as a God standard, but in recent years, with an emphasis on having greater talent in the nickel, this has been lowered to 31.5 or 31” for some analysts.
No matter, Derek Stingley has 30 5/8” arms.
At the combine, Richard Sherman was 6’2 and a half inch tall, 195 lbs, ran a 4.54, posted a 38” vertical, and had a 10’5 broad jump. He has 32” arms. He has a 78” wingspan, which is four inches greater than Stingley’s 74” wingspan.
A player can cut weight (as Stingley apparently has) and focus all of his energy on running a sub-4.4 40-yard dash. What is Stingley going to run in four months, when he potentially plays at a weight of 200 or more? How much worse would his vertical and broad jump numbers be if he tested at 195 lbs instead of 188?
A prospect can do all kinds of things to improve his 40-yard dash time for a brief moment in time. There’s nothing that Derek Stingley can do to have longer arms.
He has a multiple medical red flags
As Daniel Kelly of the blog Jets Country notes, Stingley’s biggest red flag is simply availability, which is not something you tend to see with prospects drafted in the top-10:
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.
The foot injury that Stingley suffered is a Lisfranc, and I searched for other corners in recent years who had this same injury:
Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines was a surprise sixth round stud rookie in 2014, but a Lisfranc injury cost him the entire 2015 campaign. Gaines played in only 23 more games during his career after that.
Cre’Von LeBlanc was a promising 25-year-old corner with the Eagles in 2019, but suffered a Lisfranc before season and was placed on IR. He has only appeared in 13 games since, with only 217 snaps in 2021.
Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith had a Lisfranc injury that cost him eight games in 2014. He played in all 16 games in 2015, but he hasn’t played in more than 12 games in any of the last six years.
David Amerson led the NFL with 26 passes defensed in 2015, when he was only 24. Then in 2017, Amerson suffered a foot injury with the Raiders that cost him 10 games. He was cut after the season and only played in another six games over his career. It’s not a confirmed Lisfranc injury but that may only be because Amerson wanted to hide the fact that he had a Lisfranc injury.
I find it a little shocking that a Lisfranc injury hasn’t completely dropped Stingley out of the top-15 conversation, a fast 40-yard dash or not.
His only “first round pick” season came in 2019
It’s not just that Stingley was injured in 2020 and 2021 (though he was, both seasons, for a myriad of reasons), or that he was cited for a “lack of effort” (that happened too), it’s also that what Stingley put on tape for LSU in the last two years is underwhelming.
Stingley had six picks as a true freshman in 2019 and at that point, he was a top-five pick. Had he been eligible for the 2020 draft, Stingley could go ahead of Okudah. Maybe even ahead of Chase Young. In his last two seasons, Stingley has zero interceptions and only a “handful” of passes defensed over 10 games.
Lance Zierlein’s criticisms of Stingley at NFL.com:
Tape was more good than great in 2020 and 2021.
Coverage was lackadaisical against Auburn in 2020.
Inconsistent finding the football over the last two seasons.
Needs to trust his technique in tight man.
Missing hardcore competitiveness on every snap.
Disappointing run support and tackling at times.
Said Todd McShay of Stingley’s passion for the game:
"So if you decide to play, and you're going to line up there with your 10 teammates, and you're gonna say, 'Let's go,' then you better go. And he didn't. And that's the frustration," McShay said on ESPN's First Draft podcast. "And you just want to know that you're going to get a player when you're trailing in a game or things aren't going well, what's he going to do? And that's what everyone in the league is talking about."
I get why Ja’Marr Chase was a top-five pick last year even though he sat out 2020. He had the athleticism, the size, the length, and there were no questions about his commitment or his injury history. I do not get why Stingley is afforded the same benefit of the doubt after practically sitting out two seasons, instead of one.
I’ve highlighted three key issues for Pete Carroll: Tape isn’t outstanding, competitiveness is in question, and run defense/tackling has been criticized by even the most ardent of Derek Stingley supporters.
For a regime that has never drafted a cornerback in before pick 90, why in the world would the Seahawks select a corner with sub-31” arms who doesn’t do run defense? Stingley is practically the opposite of Richard Sherman.
But that Cade York… he could be something.
Want to pound the table for Derek Stingley anyway? Shout at me in the comments!
I agree that the Hawks won't draft a CB, even Sauce Gardner in round one. I'm putting Charles Cross back on the list after doing more reading. It seems we've committed to a zone run scheme and I'm betting we mix in more outside runs this year. Cross isn't a mauler but zone doesn't need a mauler; it requires that you get a body on the defender at the right time. Smarter, more agile linemen are the standard.
Something about SAUCE scoring MORE TDs from opposing QBS than the WRs he was covering I LIKE.