LSU football defensive back Derek Stingley Jr will likely be a top 5-10 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Louisiana native will almost certainly be the first cornerback selected.
In other words, the stage is already set for Stingley, who will be a junior this fall, to be a big star at the next level. He’ll be the next great LSU defensive back that serves as the cornerstone of an NFL franchise’s defense.
But what if Stingley could be an even bigger star than that? What if he could be the face of the NFL?
Typically that type of status is reserved for quarterbacks — guys like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson.
Stingley, however, has a unique skill set that could change the way the NFL is played.
How LSU football defensive back Derek Stingley Jr could become the face of the NFL
If you’ve paid much attention to MLB lately, you’ve likely noticed that Shohei Ohtani, a pitcher/DH for the Los Angeles Angels, has become the face of the sport over the last couple of months.
It’s because Ohtani is doing things we’ve never seen before. He currently leads MLB in home runs and he was recently the starting pitcher for the AL in the All-Star game.
A two-way player like Ohtani in baseball isn’t just uncommon, it’s been non-existent for decades (Babe Ruth, of course, is the most famous two-way MLB player of all time).
In the NFL, we see two-way players from time to time. Former New England Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel had 10 career receiving touchdowns. Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown played defensive back for the team when depth was an issue. Brown finished his NFL career with three career interceptions and 22 total tackles.
Several others have flirted with playing on both sides of the ball as well, but no one has made a full-time career out of it.
Stingley, however, could be that guy.
The dynamic LSU cornerback has the speed and ball skills to play wide receiver. And it’s been rumored that Stingley could see some action on the offensive side of the ball this fall in Baton Rouge.
“That’s up to him. We’ve discussed that. He may try a little offense in fall camp, see how it works,” said Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron in early June (via WWL.com).
“Obviously we’d like to use him, but that’s totally up to him,” added Orgeron. “I gave him that opportunity and him and his daddy agreed. He’s spent two years playing corner. He’s ready.”
Stingley is talented enough that he could handle playing on both sides of the ball. And I think he’d play at an elite level on both sides.
Football is obviously a physical game, but cornerback is a position where there’s a bit of longevity. Perhaps Stingley could be used as an outside wide receiver on a regular basis and change the way the game is played forever.
Imagine a player winning defensive player of the year and offensive player of the year honors. It’s something that’s never happened. If a player achieved that in the next several years, that player would undoubtedly become the biggest star in the sport.
Stingley is the only guy that I could see having an Ohtani-like impact on the NFL.
Maybe we’ll get a sneak peek this fall at what Stingley as a two-way player would look like.