Texans spring Stingley surprise before Jets take Gardner

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The Houston Texans sprung a surprise with the third overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, selecting cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.

Many had expected the Texans to take a pass protector or an edge rusher with their top choice.

However, after the Jacksonville Jaguars took Travon Walker and the Detroit Lions selected Aidan Hutchinson, the Texans instead elected to boost their secondary with Stingley.

Stingley was many observers' second-ranked corner in the class behind Cincinnati's Ahmad 'Sauce' Gardner.

But the Texans have backed Stingley to rediscover his remarkable form of his freshman year at LSU in 2019, when he helped the Tigers to a National Championship.

Stingley had six interceptions and 15 pass breakups that year, but he struggled to replicate that level of play in 2020 and missed most of 2021 through injury.

He will be tasked with improving a pass defense that allowed the third-most yards per pass play (7.12) in 2021.

The Jets (7.11) were fourth on that list and immediately followed the Texans by taking Gardner with the fourth overall pick.

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