Leading up to the draft, we will profile players who have been linked to the Ravens. Today's subject is LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.
He's a Special Talent
Stingley could be the best cornerback in the draft and perhaps the best player. He excels at one-on-one coverage, he has excellent hands, he's a sure tackler and has the size (6-foot-1, 194 pounds) and athleticism to match up with any style of receiver.
Stingley and Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner are the top two cornerbacks in the draft. However, Stingley is coming off a serious foot injury and has only played 10 games over the past two seasons, making him one of the draft's most debated players.
"His 2019 tape is top-five pick stuff – elite," NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah said on the “The Lounge Podcast.” "If your glass is half full, you've got Stingley as the steal of the draft, we've got a top-three player and somehow we managed to get him. If your glass is half empty you say, 'Well, 2019 was a long time ago. If we have the guy that we've seen on tape the past few years, you're going to be severely disappointed.' That's why he's such a tricky evaluation."
Stingley's Strong Pro Day Erased Some Health Concerns
There were plenty of NFL eyes at Stingley's Pro Day on April 6 and he rose to the occasion, posting times of 4.37 and 4.44 in the 40-yard dash and a vertical leap of 38.5 inches. Stingley had Lisfranc foot surgery in September but was cleared for full-speed work last month and looked healthy.
"We've seen Stingley go to his Pro Day and put on a little bit of a show there," Jeremiah said. "It looks like he's back healthy coming off the foot injury. I would say he's trending back up."
Stingley, who had six interceptions in 15 games as a freshman in 2019, said he was back to 100 percent.
"It doesn't even feel like I hurt it in the first place," Stingley said via ESPN.com. "I just want to be the greatest ever, like ever."
Stingley Used to Lock Up Ja'Marr Chase at LSU Practice
Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Queen played with Stingley in 2019 when LSU won a national championship. During practices, he Queen saw Stingley pick off Joe Burrow. He saw Stingley get the best of wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase.
Queen would love to see Stingley join the Ravens, helping them battle Burrow and Chase who are now with the Bengals.
"Derek [Stingley Jr.] was different the day he came in," Queen said. "You could see it. Every day at practice he was going up against Ja'Marr and 'J.J.' [Justin Jefferson], just locking them down. So, I probably knew he was like that [since] the Auburn pick, where he like turned his head three different times and found the ball; best play I've ever seen in my life. If he falls to us, I'll be so happy."
Trading Up May Be Baltimore's Only Chance at Stingley
Few people expect Stingley to fall to No. 14, especially after his Pro Day performance. However, it's still not unrealistic to think he might fall to No. 9 or No. 10. If he's still on the board at that point, teams looking for corners like the Ravens could be tempted to trade up.
While not mentioning Stingley by name, General Manager Eric DeCosta talked about how much value the Ravens place on corners at his pre-draft press conference.
"If you guys know us, we always want to have a strong secondary and have as many corners as possible," DeCosta said. "We've referred to those guys as racecars in the past. This year, we got decimated at that position across the board. We have outstanding players coming back, but again, until they come back, it's question marks.
"We feel like Marlon is going to come back with a vengeance and Marcus is going to come back with a vengeance, but behind those two guys, the depth is thin. So, there are opportunities for us, again, in the first round, second round [and] third round. Coach [John Harbaugh] has been watching the corners as well, and we feel like we have the opportunity to take one or two corners in the Draft that could come in and contribute right away."
Stingley's Athletic Family Has Experienced Triumph and Tragedy
Stingley's grandfather, Darryl Stingley, was a wide receiver with the Patriots who suffered a catastrophic injury during a 1978 preseason game that left him a quadriplegic for the remainder of his life.
Darryl Stingley passed away when his grandson was just 5 years old, and Stingley is proud to be the next person in the family to reach the NFL.
"I'm just continuing on the Stingley name," Stingley said via the Daily Advertiser in Lafayette, La. "Every time I go on the field, I always think about him."