Heading into the 2022 NFL Draft, Cincinnati’s Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner was the consensus pick as the best cornerback prospect in the draft. However, the Houston Texans made LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. the first cornerback off the board, selecting him with the No. 3 overall pick.
Stingley Jr. played three years at LSU, playing in 25 games finishing with 73 tackles, six interceptions, and 20 passes defended.
Stingley Jr.’s health was a concern heading into the draft; the corner dealt with a Lisfranc injury that required surgery last year.
“If the calendar said 2019, Stingley might be a top-five pick. But it doesn’t and in the games he played over the past two seasons he performed well below his potential in effort and results,” wrote Jeff Legwold who had Stingley Jr. ranked No. 22 in ESPN.com’s Top 100 prospects. “Stingley had a Lisfranc injury that required surgery on Sept. 26. At this best, he’s a top prospect in this draft, but it has been two years since evaluators have seen his best.”
In 2019, Stingley Jr. was a consensus All-American and led the SEC in interceptions and passes defended. Jr. played in 15 games for LSU, finishing with 38 tackles, six interceptions, and 15 passes defended. Over the next two seasons, Stingley Jr. played in ten games, recording 35 tackles and five passes defended.