ESPN’s Domonique Foxworth says Texans’ Derek Stingley should have been first overall pick

On 'The Right Time with Bomani Jones' podcast, the former NFL cornerback says the LSU star has 'Hall of Fame ability'

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Freshman cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., of the LSU Tigers during the College Football Playoff National Championship game against the Clemson Tigers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Freshman cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., of the LSU Tigers during the College Football Playoff National Championship game against the Clemson Tigers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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The Texans were able to grab LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., with the third overall pick in Thursday's NFL Draft, but on "The Right Time with Bomani Jones" podcast, ESPN’s Domonique Foxworth made the case that Stingley should have been the first player off the board.

“He has Hall of Fame ability at the most important position on that side of the ball,” said Foxworth, who played six seasons at cornerback in the NFL.

Foxworth and Jones were surprised more teams wouldn't be blown away by the tape from Stingley’s freshman year at LSU when the Tigers won the national championship and he was the best player on the defense despite being just 18 years old.

“That dude took off his prom corsage or whatever you do, walked into L-S-damn-U and was immediately the best man on their defense," Foxworth said. "And was in practice against the receivers who are currently the best in the NFL. Strapping them. As an 18-year-old freshman.”

Baylor head coach Dave Aranda, who was LSU’s defensive coordinator during that national championship run, has similar thoughts about Stingley. He’s told the story about how Stingley graduated high school a semester early and was allowed to practice during LSU’s Fiesta Bowl preparation. Even though he was just 17 and supposed to still be in high school, Stingley covered future first-round picks Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson in those practices and when they were done, Aranda declared Stingley to be the team’s best defensive back, even though he wasn’t eligible to play in a game yet.

Stingley took college football by storm his freshman season, leading the SEC with six interceptions and being named first-team All-American. He repeated the All-American honor as a sophomore even if his stats weren’t there because teams stopped throwing to his side of the field. He played in just three games last year when he suffered a Lisfranc injury.

Jones and Foxworth agreed that the lack of action as teams stopped challenging him probably led to Stingley getting bored after his freshman season, possibly leading to the decline in play some critics have pointed to when evaluating him.

“People need to operate on a measure of common sense,” Jones said. “This dude didn’t get worse. Even if his play got worse, the dude himself did not get worse. That’s just not possible.”

Besides just being astounded by Stingley’s obvious talent, Foxworth broke down Stingley’s technique as one cornerback watching another and didn’t see how teams could pass on an opportunity to grab a player who plays what Foxworth calls “the most important position on defense.”

“The ability to move his feet and hands simultaneously in press coverage is really difficult to do. I like that,” Foxworth said. “The ability to run with receivers who are incredibly fast like straight-line? Rare. He’s got that. The ability to change directions with small shifty guys? He’s got that. And then the icing on the cake that you rarely find in a corner because we love touchdowns so much, he tracks the ball and attacks the ball and catches the ball like a receiver and normally if you have that level of freaky athleticism when you’re a kid, they put you on the offensive side of the ball, and you stay there.”

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