It's another year and another LSU star landing in the top 10 of the NFL draft. On Thursday evening, cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. was drafted No. 3 overall by the Houston Texans in the first round of the 2022 draft.
Stingley, a lockdown corner when fully healthy and focused, is undoubtedly one of the top prospects in this draft class from a talent and physical traits perspective. After playing just 10 games the last two seasons, there were some questions swirling around just where Stingley should fall but those were all answered after being cleared just before LSU's pro day.
Stingley had a stellar pro day performance, where he ran a 4.37 40-yard dash and jumped a 38.5 inch vertical in front of all 32 NFL teams. Those are the kind of numbers scouts and NFL front office decision makers love to see, especially considering the physical gifts and technique he plays with when on the field.
"They all love what I went out there and did," Stingley said at his pro day. "I've spoken to a lot of teams but the message from them was they wanted me to come out and be me and that's what I did. "I don't do a lot of talking so they just wanna know who I am."
When on the field and in a good situation, there is arguably no better prospect in this year's draft class. He can seamlessly fit onto any defense because of his unique coverage skills in man and really showed improvement in zone over his career as well.
LSU has watched as six players have gone in the top six selections over the last six draft classes including Ja'Marr Chase, Joe Burrow, Devin White, Leonard Fournette and Jamal Adams, with Stingley joining that group tonight.
A playmaker who recorded six interceptions and over 20 passes defended in his freshman season, the Texans are hoping that version of Stingley is the one they see at the NFL level. If it is, he's a perennial pro bowl, All-Pro and defensive anchor for any team, particularly one like Houston that is looking to fill holes pretty much all over the place.
Stingley will now begin an NFL career with as high as expectations as can be on a top three draft pick.