Baton Rouge – Derek Stingley Jr. ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash on his first attempt at LSU's Pro Day on Wednesday, and rather than shut down the sprint portion of his workout because there wasn't much more left to prove about his speed, he ran it again.
"I can run faster than a 4.3," the former LSU cornerback said.
He didn't – at least, not on Wednesday. His second effort produced a 4.44.
"I popped up at the beginning, so that was it," he said.
No matter. He'd shown what he believes NFL teams needed to see, including a 38.5-inch vertical jump. Stingley, considered one of the top cornerbacks in the upcoming NFL Draft, said he completely has recovered from surgery for a Lisfranc injury to his left foot, which occurred in practice prior to him playing his final games at LSU in 2021.
"The Lisfranc injury, it happened on the first day of camp," he said. "And I played those (first) three games with the Lisfranc.
"When I hurt it, it was painful. But the Lisfranc is an injury, once you get it fixed, you'll never worry about it again. I feel fine right now. It doesn't even feel like I hurt it in the first place."
Limited game time meant low numbers for Stingley as a junior: eight tackles and one forced fumble. And that followed a sophomore season during which he played seven games and totaled 19 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and five passes defensed.
But Stingley's freshman season in 2019 is where he turned heads the most, with six interceptions, 15 passes defensed and a fumble recovery, with 38 tackles. And that's the physical form he looked to recapture and display on Wednesday.
"I just wanted to show that nothing has changed over these past couple of years," he said. "Just go out there and do what I did.
"It was good, it was fun. The teams just wanted to see how I moved and after I showed them that I'm still me, everything is going to be good."
Among the Saints coaches in attendance was co-defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen. Nielsen rose to the position of co-defensive coordinator this offseason, along with defensive backs coach Kris Richard, after Dennis Allen moved to head coach from defensive coordinator.
"Any time you can get out and see the prospect run around, move around, have dinner with him, it just helps in the whole draft process," Nielsen said. "Especially a program like this. They've had great players for years, so it's great to be here."
He said pro days are as much about the weights, measures and times as they are about the private time spent with a prospect.
"It's really both, the combination," Nielsen said. "You want a good person with a great skillset. That's why you've got to get out here and see these guys."
Nielsen said the transition to co-coordinator has been without complication.
"Things are about similar, a little bit different," he said. "They've been running smooth so it's been good so far.
"(Gameday) will stay very similar to what I've done before. We've got a great defensive staff – Kris Richard, (linebackers coach) Mike Hodges, (pass rush specialist) Brian Young, (senior defensive assistant) Peter Giunta, (assistant defensive backs coach) Corey Robinson – it's a really good staff. When you have a transition like we had, a lot of things stayed the same and that's good. That's really good."