NY Jets CB Qwant'ez Stiggers has the most inspirational story in the NFL Draft

What a journey. What a story.
Qwan'tez Stiggers
Qwan'tez Stiggers / John E. Sokolowski/GettyImages

There might not be a more inspirational story in the 2024 NFL Draft than new NY Jets cornerback Qwant'ez Stiggers. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a player in the NFL with a more unconventional journey than the Jets' latest fifth-round pick.

Stiggers attended a small school in Atlanta with only 27 players on his varsity football team. Originally an undersized kicker and punter, Stiggers had a growth spurt that allowed him to make the transition to wide receiver and defensive back.

Despite his success in high school, Stiggers received very little college interest as a no-star recruit. He eventually signed a letter of intent to play for Division II Lane College in Tennessee, but a personal tragedy prevented that from ever happening.

Stiggers' father tragically passed away in a car accident in September of 2020, prompting the Georgia native to drop out of school to help provide for his family (he's one of 13 children).

Stiggers spent two years out of football, working for DoorDash, InstaCart, and any way, he could make his family some extra money. Little did he know that, within a few years, he'd miraculously be playing in the NFL.

NY Jets cornerback Qwant'ez Stiggers is a story of perseverance and resilience

After two years out of football, Stiggers was convinced by his mother to give football another try. He reached out to several college programs but was never given any serious consideration.

He finally received an opportunity to play in the Fan Controlled Football League, an indoor 7-on-7 semi-pro league where the gimmick is that fans call the plays. Yes, that is (or was) a real football league.

Stiggers impressed in his stint in the FCF, so much so that his coaches sent his tape to a number of CFL teams. He would receive an opportunity to try out for the Toronto Argonauts, and not only would he make the team, but he'd go on to put together an outstanding season.

Stiggers earned a starting job almost immediately and was named an All-Star and the CFL's Most Outstanding Rookie. He decided to throw his name in the hat and declare for the 2024 NFL Draft shortly after.

Following an impressive performance at the East-West Shrine Bowl, Stiggers started to receive genuine NFL interest, meeting with a few teams for top-30 visits. One of those teams was the Jets.

Stiggers' draft call with the Jets is an indication of just how much this means to both him and every member of the organization. This was an emotional day for everyone involved.

Stiggers has an opportunity to compete for a depth spot in the Jets' secondary, and at just 22 years old, he's still just scratching the surface of his potential.

The Jets fell in love with Stiggers as both a person and player in the pre-draft process. Today, they had the opportunity to make his dream — one that seemed wholly unattainable just a few years ago — come true.

Football is really cool sometimes.