Derek Stingley Jr. is considered by many around the league as the best overall cornerback in the 2022 NFL Draft class. Stingley has true elite lockdown corner potential but there are a few concerns that you should take into consideration as well.
In 2019, Stingley’s freshman season at LSU was one that will always be remembered. Stingley was regarded as the best defensive back in college football at such a young age and played a huge role in LSU’s National Championship win over Clemson.
The next two years at LSU, Stingley played a total of ten games due to multiple injuries and illness. In 2021, Stingley tried playing through his Lisfranc injury in his foot but eventually decided get surgery, which was the right move considering the severity of that specific injury.
Stingley opted to not participate in the combine leading up to the draft due to him not being fully healthy after his surgery. Stingley eventually participated in LSU’s pro day in early April and that was what brought the hype back. Stingley looked extremely impressive throughout the entire workout and even ran a 4.37 40-yard dash, 38.5 inch vertical and a 10’2 broad jump.
In 2022, no one really knew how the first three picks of the NFL Draft would play out. The Houston Texans throughout the entire process were rumored to be heavily interested in selecting a cornerback with their third overall pick. At first, the speculation was that Cincinnati cornerback Sauce Gardner was who the Texans could be targeting but days leading up to the draft, that narrative changed. Multiple sources from around the league suspected that the Texans loved Derek Stingley Jr. and would select him if available.
The Texans ended up selecting Derek Stingley Jr. with their third-overall pick and they clearly believe that he will return to his 2019 form. After the Texans drafted Stingley, new Texans Head Coach Lovie Smith said to Stingley, “I’ve got a plan for you, how about going to the number one receiver every time?”. Stingley responded by saying “sounds good to me”.
If you are a Houston Texans fan, you should be excited about the future of Derek Stingley Jr. Stingley has the potential to not only be one of the best cornerbacks in all of football, but also one of the best cornerbacks in franchise history. Stingley has blazing fast speed to go along with elite ball skills and a high football IQ. Stingley is also just 20 years old and has plenty of room to grow and improve his craft under Lovie Smith.