Should Derek Stingley be considered among the best young corners in the league right now?

The Houston Texans may have one of the best cornerbacks in the league.
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens / Rob Carr/GettyImages

The Houston Texans picked Derek Stingley Jr. third overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. He was expected to make an immediate impact, with being taken so high in the amateur draft, but the then-rookie failed to make an impact at all. In fact, Stingley at times looked downright bad. So bad that Pro Football Focus (PFF) graded his rookie year at just a 49.1, and gave his coverage skills a 49.9.

Now, PFF isn't perfect, look at their love affair for Myles Garrett for proof that they don't always value winning football plays as much as they value subjective stats, but they're still a nice baseline for things. When it comes to Stingley, their evaluation of his rookie year is fair and spot-on.

As is their view on his sophomore year. As bad as Stingley was as a rookie, he was exactly the opposite in year number two. He struggled at times, but he finished the year with an overall PFF grade of 81.8 while having a coverage score of 84.9, both stellar numbers in the PFF evaluation process.

Pro Football Network has also taken to the Stingley hype, including him as an answer to the question "Who is the best cornerback under 25?" He's being pitted against the New York Jets' Sauce Gardner, the Denver Broncos' Patrick Surtain, the Chicago Bears' Jaylon Johnson, the Kansas City Chiefs' Trent McDuffie and the Seattle Seahawks' Devon Witherspoon

Gardner might be the best corner in the league right now, so it's fair to say that Stingley isn't on his level just yet. Surtain certainly has a case to be made for being the second-best player of his position, at least among those under 25, but he's been up and down to start his career.

Johnson hasn't been very good across his career until 2023, while Witherspoon just entered the league. McDuffie may be the real number two or three guy after starting off his career well and getting better in year two.

So we'd probably put Stingley third, behind McDuffie at number two and Gardner at number one, and just above Surtain. Witherspoon could leap to second if he has another great season.

Next. ESPN has the Houston Texans taking a cornerback in the first round. ESPN has the Houston Texans taking a cornerback in the first round. dark