Derek Stingley Jr. linked to NY Giants in latest Bucky Brooks mock draft

NY Giants, Derek Stingley, Jr. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
NY Giants, Derek Stingley, Jr. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

With the 2022 NFL Draft now on the horizon, it has been a long process since the end of the NFL season in February. For the NY Giants, it has been even longer than that – a common theme of the past decade in East Rutherford.

Over the almost four months since the end of the regular season, the team has been linked with a number of positions, and players at those positions, with their two top ten picks. One player who has made quite an impressive late push for top-five consideration is LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.

At one point a late day-one consideration, it now appears Stingley Jr. is a consensus top ten pick. In Bucky Brooks’ latest (and final) mock draft, he has the Giants taking Stingley Jr. at pick 7. Let’s take a look at why all of a sudden the talented 20-year-old is considered a real possibility to the Giants on day one.

Why the NY Giants should draft Derek Stingley Jr.

The short answer to this is “2019”. During his rookie season, Derek Stingley Jr. was one of the most dynamic defensive playmakers in the country. His combination of size, speed, and technique has resulted in him appearing to be one of the most impressive cornerback prospects to enter the NFL draft in some time – assuming he can return to the form shown in 2019.

In his rookie season, he had 38 tackles, 15 pass breakups, and 6 interceptions. This was while playing in the SEC against some of the top talents in the country, including two interceptions against the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC championship game. His PFF coverage grade that year is the highest which has ever been recorded by a true freshman at the collegiate level.

It wasn’t just on Saturdays where Stingley Jr. was locking down top wide receivers. The 2019 LSU team had future first-round picks Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson on the roster, making for some of the most hotly contested practice reps you will ever see. By all reports, Stingley Jr. more than held his own against the future NFL stars, including regularly winning match-ups with the 2021 NFL offensive rookie of the year, Ja’Marr Chase.

Wink Martindale’s defense often relies on leaving cornerbacks “on an island” – meaning they need to cover wide receivers one-on-one, with no help from teammates. As you can see from his match-up with Chase in practice, as well as his 2019 highlight reel, he certainly has all the tools and ability to handle receivers in those situations. If the Giants draft Stingley Jr. and he provides the kind of form he showed in 2019, he could end up being the best pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Why the NY Giants shouldn’t draft Derek Stingley Jr.

While 2019 was the reason the NY Giants should consider drafting Stingley Jr., the past two seasons are why they shouldn’t. He played in all15 games of his rookie season in LSU, a number which he hasn’t been able to match in the last two seasons combined.

He only saw action in three games this past season, eventually needing surgery on his foot and missing the remainder of the year. It has been a long time since we saw Stingley Jr. in action, and even longer since we saw him at his best.

In the 10 games he has played since 2019, he has been less than his spectacular ceiling suggests he can be. This has largely been due to persistent injuries, and an LSU defense which has been less than inspiring since their national championship run.

In 2020 and 2021, his production was down, and opposition quarterback ratings were up when targeting him. It is certainly not the kind of trend you want to see for a player who is entering the NFL draft, especially considering his extensive injury history.

In fairness to Stingley Jr., while he hasn’t seen the production he had in his rookie season, oppositions have clearly avoided throwing the ball his way – a compliment reserved for the top corners in the nation. In 2019 he saw over 6 targets per game, with the average dropping to just 3.3 in his 10 games since.

His injury held him out of the pre-draft process as well, with the length of time since teams have seen him likely resulting in his position on draft boards varying dramatically depending on which team you ask.

The Verdict

The final decision on how the Giants feel about his past two seasons will likely come down to the conversations with Joe Schoen, Brain Daboll and the coaching staff during the draft process. If there are no signs of effort issues, and his injuries have healed to the extent you would expect, he could certainly be a top target for the Giants.

Hot. Final NY Giants 7-Round mock draft with zero trades. light

At his best, Stingley Jr. is likely the best cornerback in the 2022 NFL draft – perhaps even the best player overall. The issue, of course, is whether or not the team who drafts him get the 2019 version, or the less than spectacular Stingley Jr. from the past two seasons. In my opinion, Stingley Jr. is well and truly in the conversation with Ahmad Gardner as the number one cornerback in this class and a definite possibility to be a New York Giant in just over 24 hours.