Updated July 1, 2021
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
During LSU's dream 2019 season, the program fielded a plethora of breakout stars, and perhaps the defense's best player on defense freshman cornerback Derek Stingley. The Tigers had future first-round picks in edge rusher K'Lavon Chaisson and linebacker Patrick Queen, but Stingley was perhaps their most clutch defender. Even for a school that is known for great cornerback play, Stingley was phenomenal, immediately putting himself on the radar for the 2022 NFL Draft. In speaking to a director of player personnel, they said they believe Stingley has the potential to be a better prospect than Jeff Okudah, who went third overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, and C.J. Henderson, who was 9th overall in that same draft.
That source went on:
"Well, obviously it is super early, and we'll see how Stingley plays this year. Perhaps everything changes, but right now, I think he is a more dynamic cover guy than Okduah and seems a little more talented than Henderson. Athletically, Stingley and Henderson are similar, but I feel like I trust Stingley more than C.J. They both had some plays where you are like 'how did you give that up?', but Stingley has less plays where he looks soft or disinterested. If I had to rate them right now, I would put Jaycee Horn first, Stingley second, C.J. Henderson third, and Okudah fourth.”
In 2019, Stingley recorded 38 tackles with six interceptions and 15 passes defended. He was then banged up as a sophomore but collected 27 tackles and five breakups. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder has size, speed and athleticism, and if he stays consistent in 2021, he looks a lock as a top-10 pick for the 2022 NFL Draft and could have some evaluators grading him out higher than Okudah and Henderson.