Brandon Staley potentially planting seeds for Chargers to draft top-10 corner

LSU v UCLA / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Derek Stingley Jr. is perhaps the cornerback with the most raw talent in the 2022 NFL Draft class when he is playing up to his capabilities. The LA Chargers already added one elite cornerback this offseason in J.C. Jackson and Brandon Staley could be planting the seeds to add another potentially elite cornerback in Stingley.

LSU held its pro day on Wednesday and Staley was not only in attendance to see what Stingley could bring to the table but he even spent some time coaching up the college prospect. Granted, Staley is a football guy who is going to take any opportunity to make someone better if he can, but the fact this also could have been the Chargers head coach showing his hand with a potential interest in the LSU Tiger.

Stingley spoke to James Palmer of NFL Network and mentioned that Staley was giving him small tips during his drills, and in the interview, you can see Staley embracing Stingley and saying something to the young corner.

Could Derek Stingley Jr. actually fall to the LA Chargers in the 2022 NFL Draft?

Derek Stingley Jr. was the top cornerback prospect and a top-five prospect for many early on in the draft process. However, Ahmad Gardner has since overtaken Stingley as the top corner in the draft class while Stingley has seen his draft stock fall.

Because of injuries in his last two seasons at LSU as well as not being able to replicate his 2019 season, Stingley has fallen on the big board and no longer is a candidate to be picked in the top five. Stingley actually ranks 10th on the consensus big board, which is right around where many people see him being drafted.

While it is more likely than not that Stingley will be taken before the Chargers are on the clock at 17 it is definitely not out of the realm of possibility. This would not be the first time that we have seen a top-10 defensive back fall to the Chargers at 17 because of injury concerns (hi, Derwin James!) and all it takes is a few teams falling in love with quarterbacks or receivers to push Stingley down the board.

Stingley ranks higher on the big board than the likes of Malik Willis, Drake London, Jameson Williams, Kenny Pickett, or any of the other quarterbacks or receivers. Because quarterbacks and receivers are so valued, there is a good chance that teams ahead of the Chargers will select those players first. All it takes is 3-4 players below Stingley to be taken ahead of him then suddenly he is there at 14 with a real possibility of falling to 17.

If Stingley is on the board at, say, pick 15 then I would not rule out the Chargers even trading up for him if they are really in love with him as a prospect. The Bolts could package 17 and a future third-round pick to move up to spots with a team like the Philadelphia Eagles, who would pick up even more draft capital and would probably get the same prospect they wanted anyway (assuming they don't want Stingley himself).

If Stingley is there for the Bolts to take then they probably would as well, even after signing Jackson. Tom Telesco has historically drafted the best player available and if the next best player is someone like Trevor Penning then the Bolts will add to the secondary with Stingley to further beef up the defense.

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Where there is smoke there is often fire and it would not be totally surprising if Derek Stingley was a Charger in a month's time.