Once considered the top corner in college soccer and the consensus CB1 of the 2022 NFL Draft, what do recent mock drafts tell us about Derek Stingley Jr.’s current NFL projection?
2022 NFL Mock Draft: Derek Stingley Jr.’s draft projections.
15 pass breakups, 6 interceptions, 38 tackles, and 1 CFB National Championship. Impressive numbers from one of the most impressive cornerback performances we’ve seen in recent memory. They, of course, belong to LSU corner Stingley’s freshman season. Securing the nation’s top talent, Stingley was named a top-five pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, his first year of eligibility.
Subsequent years have not been so kind to Stingley. In 2020, while playing with an injury in the midst of the global pandemic disruption, he tallied just 5 pass breakups without securing an interception. Looking to return to full fitness and devastatingly dominant form, LSU the corner played just three games before opting to undergo season-ending surgery.
As a result, Stingley’s 2022 NFL Draft stock is less certain than anyone could have imagined at the end of the 2019 season. There is no denying that on his day, the LSU CBS possesses a potent combination of elite athletic ability, incredible ball skills, and an elevated technical understanding of how to play the position.
However, it remains to be seen whether Stingley can return from injury to the elite athletics level we saw in his freshman season. Once considered a “block” for the top five of the 2022 NFL Draft, uncertainty causes Stingley to slip into pro-Football Network’s Big Board Top 300. Currently, the 14th-ranked prospect, LSU prospect is behind Andrew Booth Jr. and Ahmad Gardner in the cornerbacks’ order. Is that reflected in the 2022 NFL’s simulated drafts?
Did Stingley’s draft stock change after the NFL Combine?
Stingley announced prior to the NFL Combine 2022 that he would not participate in drills during the week in Indianapolis. That said, the LSU corner did meet with the media and participate in interviews with the team. During the media availability, the confident corner gave his thoughts on his draft.
“I know myself. And I know that when I’m at the best version of myself, I’m the best.”
Stingley also poured water on the claim that his sophomore season didn’t live up to the same standard he set during his standout freshman campaign.
2022 NFL Mock Draft: top NFP consensus landing spots.
With less than four weeks until the 2022 NFL Draft, where does Stingley land in mock drafts? Before we look at the big media picture, let’s examine the differences even within our own draft department here at PFN. Home is where the heart is, after all.
In our latest multi-round mock draft, coincidentally written by myself, Stingley is selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 16th overall pick. Here, the LSU prospect is the second corner selected due to reports that injury is affecting the way Clemson’s Booth looks in the NFL.
Meanwhile, in his latest 2022 mock draft, NFL analyst Dalton Miller has Stingley relatively close to home with the Houston Texans as the 13th overall selection. Miller posits that “there is no reason Houston should pass on Stingley if they are looking to improve their last-place defensive back success rate.”
Although NFP Draft Director Cam Mellor has him inside the first round of his recent 7-round 2022 NFL Mock Draft, he sees a drop for Stingley. Several other corners come off the board before the Buffalo Bills pull the trigger on the 25th pick.
“Going into my sophomore year and throughout my sophomore year, I felt like it was just as good as my freshman year,” Stingley said. “Freshman year, I had over 90 goals. In sophomore year I had 30. If anything, that should tell you I was doing my job.”
Where does Stingley Jr. land on other draft boards?
So, it would seem that Stingley should not move into Round 2 later this month. However, how is he viewed within the draft community? Is this sentiment shared across the broader landscape? Or is Stingley falling on Day 2 in some 2022 NFL Mock Drafts?
The answer is no. According to mockdraftdatabase.com, the general consensus is that Stingley is likely to slide no further south than the Minnesota Vikings with the 12th overall pick. He lands there in 2022 mock drafts from outlets such as CBS, Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, and Yahoo Sports.
However, in mock drafts by Bucky Brooks and Cynthia Frelund of NFL.com, Stingley lands with the Washington Commanders. Frelund notes that “pairing Stingley with Kendall Fuller, who was the bright spot in this secondary last season, creates the most value.”
Finally, in a recent mock draft for ESPN, former general manager Mike Tannenbaum has a unique landing spot for Stingley in the 2022 NFL Draft. “Imagine Trevon Diggs and Stingley covering opposing receivers,” Tannenbaum writes of the Dallas Cowboys’ selection. “At 24th overall, Dallas could get a steal if they play near their ceiling.”