As they embark on a new era after the Russell Wilson trade, the Seattle Seahawks could make LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. one of the faces of their defense.
ESPN's Todd McShay reported Seattle is "taking a hard look" at Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis but also "really likes" Stingley.
In the wake of the Wilson trade, ESPN's Bill Barnwell thought the move represented "an ideological shift for them back to what [head coach Pete] Carroll believes is the correct formula for winning football games."
A suffocating defense was a key ingredient in Seattle's back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014. The team is no longer performing at that level, ranking 21st in defensive efficiency, per Football Outsiders, and 28th in yards allowed (379.1 per game) in 2021.
Dealing a quarterback with two seasons left on a four-year, $140 million deal frees up a lot of money to reinvest in the defense. The move also granted the Seahawks more draft capital to add difference-makers. They didn't have a 2022 first-round pick prior to the trade; now, they're on the board at No. 9.
Stingley carries a level of risk. The 20-year-old was a consensus All-American as a freshman, intercepting six passes and finishing with 15 passes defended. Then he appeared in just 10 games between 2020 and 2021.
However, his freshman season was almost enough on its own to show why Stingley can thrive at the next level. He's seventh overall on Bleacher Report's big board, and B/R NFL scout Cory Giddings compared him to three-time Pro Bowler DeAngelo Hall:
"Stingley plays with good physicality in the run game, with the willingness to tackle. He reacts quickly to the reads, doing a good job in block destruction. He occasionally struggles with bigger blockers and the tackling of bigger running backs, though.
"Stingley has the ideal length teams are looking for in cornerbacks. Paired with his elite athleticism, ball skills and scheme flexibility, he should be an early pick for the cornerback positions. A foot injury kept him out of all but three games this season, so he will have to prove to doctors that he is back to 100 percent."
Assembling a secondary that includes Stingley, Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs would hark back more to the Legion of Boom era.