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Texans CB Derek Stingley Jr. A Favorite for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

Texans Rookie Derek Stingley Jr. has high expectations heading into 2022

The Houston Texans selected LSU cornerback Derek Stingley with the No. 3 overall pick in the first round of last Thursday's NFL Draft, making him the cornerstone of Lovie Smith's rebuilding 2022 defense.

And with the lofty draft position comes high expectations, with Stingley coming in as one of the leaders for the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year next season. 

The LSU product, who holds a tie for the fifth-best odds at +900, is also tied as the highest defensive back on the board with Jets rookie Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner.

Stingley, 20, is best known for his 2019 season as LSU's top defensive player on the way to a perfect 15-0 season. As a true freshman, he recorded a team-high six interceptions to go along with 15 pass deflections and 37 total tackles.

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Derek Stingley
Derek Stingley
Derek Stingley Jr.

LSU won a national title in large part due to his efforts in shutting down receivers throughout the regular season. According to Pro Football Focus, opponents completed just 37 percent of passes for 6.6 yards per attempt, the lowest among cornerbacks that year. For his efforts, Stingley was named a first-team All-American.

Injuries have hampered Stingley's production over the past two seasons. He was limited to seven games in 2020 due to a shoulder injury and would only play in three games a year later. Stingley would undergo season-ending surgery to repair a Lisfranc foot injury suffered against Mississippi State.

Scouts initially believed that the 6-foot defender would hear his name called somewhere between the 15-20 range. After LSU's Pro Day — in which in ran a 4.4 40-time and posted a 37.5-inch vertical — he began to flutter back into the conversation of being a consensus top 10 pick.