As we inch closer to the 2022 NFL draft, the picture continues to get clearer.
That is certainly the case for the New York Jets as they put together their final draft board.
One player that had seemingly been thrown off the board due to medical concerns, has now suddenly surged back into the conversation.
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Some Surprising News
One of the most polarizing prospects in April’s draft is former LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.
If he would’ve been eligible to be selected after his first collegiate season back in 2019, there is a strong argument he could’ve been the No. 1 overall pick:
- Six interceptions
- 15 pass deflections
- 38 total tackles
Unfortunately, he wasn’t and had to play an additional two seasons but there were a lot more questions than answers following that run in which he only played in 10 games during that stretch.
Although after two turbulent years, Stingley is finally healthy.
NFL Insider Ian Rapoport tweeted out on April 4 that Stingley has “recovered fully from his Lisfranc injury” and with that will be fully participating in the full array of drills at his Pro Day on April 6.
This arguably may be the most important Pro Day of the buildup to the draft considering the number of questions that exist medically speaking.
A Risky Proposition
They say sometimes you have to risk it to get the biscuit. While Stingley is immensely talented, he comes with a lot of questionable baggage mainly built around his inability to have consistent availability.
Jets beat reporter DJ Bien-Aime of the New York Daily News says that Stingely’s resume reminds him of Green Bay Packers All-Pro Jaire Alexander.
The former member of the Louisville Cardinals had some elite tape and then dealt with some injuries in college. That forced him to fall to the No. 18 overall pick in the first round of the 2018 draft.
After missing some time in college, the Packers took a chance on a player sliding down the board and it paid off in a huge way.
Bien-Aime openly wondered whether this could be a similar story for the former LSU defender.
On the other side of the fence, he could be another Dee Milliner. The former Alabama defender was the No. 9 overall pick back in the 2013 NFL draft but injury issues in college followed him into the pros.
This level of volatility will likely scare off some teams, including the Jets.
Peter King of NBC Sports recently shared that the green and white are “leery” as are other teams about Stingley’s recent durability issues.
As they should be, however, this recent medical clearance is massive news and immediately thrusts the talented corner back into the Jets’ draft plans.
With his elite 2019 tape and sudden clean bill of health, the Jets would be naive to cast him aside and not give him serious consideration in the first round of the draft.
Stingley has all the traits and potential to be a lockdown corner in the NFL and the Jets don’t currently have one of those on the roster. He could be a target with the No. 4 or No. 10 overall picks or Gang Green could trade back/up from their positions in the second round to snag him.