(Editor's Note: While the start of the 2022 NFL Draft isn't until late-April, it's never too early to profile some of the key participants. The staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of the draft's top prospects, with an emphasis on possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.)
- Name: Derek Stingley Jr.
- Position: CB
- College: LSU
- Height/Weight: 6'0/190
- Did You Know: Stingley certainly has pro sports pedigree. His father, Derek Stingley Sr., played both minor league baseball and Arena League football. His grandfather, Darryl Stingley, played five seasons at receiver in the NFL, all for the New England Patriots.
Where He's Projected:
After he made 15 starts and tallied six interceptions for LSU's 2019 national championship team as a true freshman, Stingley had the look of a future Top 5 pick. The rest of his college career wasn't so stellar, however, as both his 2020 and 2021 seasons were cut short by injury. After breaking up 15 passes in 2019, he managed just five more in the next two years. Because of this, his stock has slipped a bit since his amazing debut season. All of that said, the top-tier talent is still there, as Stingley posted a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash and a 38.5-inch vertical last week at his Pro Day, just a few weeks removed from finishing his recovery from a Lisfranc injury. That talent alone will likely make him a Top 15 pick, but it's also fair to say that Stingley is one of the most polarizing prospects in this draft and it's hard to project exactly where he might go.
How He Helps The Cowboys:
Drafting Stingley to this roster would be the definition of selecting the best player available. If he does somehow slip to the No. 24 slot, he'd very likely be the most talented prospect left on the board. Strictly speaking, cornerback is not a big position of need for the Cowboys, who just drafted Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright last year. But Stingley has the potential to start opposite from Trevon Diggs right away, and would give the Cowboys one of the most talented corner duos in the league. It'd also be a pick that could allow them to save money on the salary cap, as having Stingley on the roster would give them the flexibility to shed some of their veteran salaries.
Kyle Youmans' Report: Stingley exploded on the scene with an incredible rookie season in 2019 and posted the highest coverage grade in the country (according to PFF). He also led the national champions in interceptions (6) and was an instant sensation in Baton Rouge. However, the next two seasons were riddled with injuries and coaching changes that really seemed to slow the growth of one of the more dynamic players in the country. As he enters the NFL, teams will have to decide if Stingley is worth the risk with so much baggage, but so much talent.