Once considered the premier cornerback in college football and the consensus CB1 of the 2022 NFL Draft, what do recent mock drafts tell us about Derek Stingley Jr.’s current NFL projection?
NFL Mock Draft 2022: Derek Stingley Jr.’s draft projections
15 pass breakups, 6 interceptions, 38 tackles, 1 CFB National Championship. Impressive numbers from one of the most impressive cornerback performances we’ve seen in recent times. They, of course, belong to the freshman season of LSU cornerback Stingley. Locking down the best talent in the nation, Stingley was earmarked as a top-five 2022 NFL Draft pick — his earliest year of eligibility.
The following years haven’t been as kind to Stingley. In 2020, while playing through injury amongst the disruption of the global pandemic, he tallied just 5 pass breakups without securing an interception. Looking to return to full fitness and devastatingly dominant form, the LSU cornerback played just three games before opting to have 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’s no denying that on his day, the LSU CB possesses a potent mix of elite athletic ability, insane 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 level of athleticism that we saw in his freshman season. Once considered a “lock” for the top five of the 2022 NFL Draft, the uncertainty sees Stingley slide on the Pro Football Network Top 300 Big Board. Currently the 14th-ranked prospect, the LSU prospect sits behind Andrew Booth Jr. and Ahmad Gardner in the cornerback pecking order. Is that reflected in 2022 NFL Mock Drafts?
Did Stingley’s draft stock change after the NFL Combine?
Stingley announced prior to the 2022 NFL Combine that he wouldn’t take part in drills during the week in Indianapolis. That said, the LSU cornerback did meet with the media and engaged in team interviews. During the media availability, the confident cornerback gave his opinion on his draft stock.
“I know myself. And I know that when I’m at the best version of myself, I’m the greatest.”
Stingley also poured water over the assertion that his sophomore season didn’t live up to the same standard that he set during his outstanding freshman campaign.
“Going into my second year, and throughout my second year, I felt it was just as good as my freshman year,” Stingley said. “Freshman year, I had over 90 targets. Sophomore I had 30. If anything, that should say I was doing my job.”
2022 NFL Mock Draft: PFN’s top consensus landing spots
With less than four weeks until the 2022 NFL Draft, where is Stingley landing in mock drafts? Before looking at the wider media landscape, 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 snapped up by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 16th overall pick. Here, the LSU prospect is the second cornerback selected due to reports that injury is impacting how Clemson’s Booth is viewed around the NFL.
Meanwhile, in his latest 2022 mock draft, NFL analyst Dalton Miller has Stingley staying relatively close to home with the Houston Texans as the 13th overall selection. Miller posits that “there’s no reason why Houston should pass on Stingley if they’re looking to improve from their last place defensive dropback success rate.”
Although PFN Draft Director Cam Mellor has him staying within the first round of his recent 7-Round 2022 NFL Mock Draft, he sees a slide coming for Stingley. Several other cornerbacks come off the board before the Buffalo Bills pull the trigger with the 25th pick.
Where does Stingley Jr. land on other draft boards?
So it would seem that Stingley shouldn’t slide into Round 2 later this month. How is he viewed within the draft community, however? Is this sentiment shared across the wider landscape? Or is Stingley falling into 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 such outlets as CBS, Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, and Yahoo Sports.
Yet, in mock drafts by NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks and Cynthia Frelund, Stingley lands with the Washington Commanders. Frelund points out that “pairing Stingley with Kendall Fuller, who was the bright spot of this secondary last season, creates the most value.”
Finally, in a recent mock draft for ESPN, former GM Mike Tannenbaum has a unique landing spot for Stingley in the 2022 NFL Draft. “Imagine Trevon Diggs and Stingley covering up opposing receivers,” Tannenbaum writes of the selection for the Dallas Cowboys. “At No. 24 overall, Dallas could get a steal if he plays anywhere near his ceiling.”