The question for the Houston Texans is will Derek Stingley Jr. be ready for the season opener against AFC South rival, the Indianapolis Colts?
The Houston Texans made a huge investment this past April when they selected cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. from LSU with the third overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The franchise passed on a number of high quality players as they believed that Stingley was the best cornerback in the draft.
The injury and the surgery that followed, Stingley needed to recover from was a torn ligament in his left foot, and though it seems he’s recovered from that injury suffered early in his final collegiate season, the Texans believe he’ll be on the field field opposite of the Colts in Week 1.
Texans head coach Lovie Smith was asked about the availability of Stingley at cornerback for Week 1 and here was his response on Friday in a press conference with the Houston media, with comments provided by HoustonTexans.com:
“Yes, I do, Week 1. Whenever a player is coming off of a major injury, there’s ramp up here, that’s what it’s for. Ease him into it. You see him, healthy, running around doing a few plays. He’s on schedule. But that’s how we will treat all of our players coming off major injuries.”
Stingley Jr. might be the most anticipated player for all Houston fans to watch when the regular season begins because he was such a high draft pick, but also because he could be the player who saves the Texans’ secondary in 2022.
Last season, Houston’s secondary wasn’t the best, and since then some mainstays of the unit have left this offseason for a new start, and the Texans have done the same by adding Stingley.
Texans: Stingley and Gardner comparisons will happen in ’22 due to draft selection
Before the draft, there were thoughts the Texans could select cornerback Sauce Gardner from Cincinnati, but when Houston passed on the defensive back, the New York Jets were then with the with the fourth overall pick to add the highly-touted player to their secondary.
There is some pressure there for Stingley because of the incoming comparisons to Gardner as they were consecutive picks, and both are talented players at the same position.
Going back to what Smith said about Stingley, and seeing him healthy and “doing plays,” that is great news to hear. Also, the head coach said “he’s on schedule” when speaking about Stingley and the season opener, so how can’t fans of the Texans be happy to know that?
For Houston’s defense to be better than it was last season, Stingley will have to be on the field. I is that simple, and the pressure on the rookie cornerback will be high. Some of those pressures could be unrealistic, but Stingley will have to keep adding just a little to his game each and every week for success to happen for him and this franchise.
There is no doubt the continued improvement will be a season-long process for Stingley, and like the rebuild for the entire team, patience will be a virtue.
When Stingley hits a certain level of play in year one it will be evident, and the best thing is he’s on schedule to be on the field for Week 1 to begin the process of helping the Texans’ defense improve.