Among the reasons the Houston Texans taking LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. at No. 3 overall was considered somewhat of a surprise is that Stingley played in only three games during the Tigers' 2021 season.
Stingley was sidelined during his junior season by a Lisfranc injury that continues to hamper him and could slow him on the practice field for a while.
"Really he played three or four games [last season] there with a foot and he wasn't really healthy," Texans general manager Nick Caserio told Payne & Pendergast on Sports Radio 610 on Monday, via USA Today's Mark Lane. "So, kind of speaks to his competitiveness and his toughness. And then he was able to get out there in the spring and show that he's at least making some progress. I'd say he's got some work to do in terms of being ready to go for camp."
Houston is scheduled to hold mandatory minicamp from June 14-16, with training camp to take place in August.
With such a high pick used on him, Stingley has been thrust into being a centerpiece of the Texans' rebuild. Thus, making sure he's healthy is paramount, but it also shines a light on the risky proposition of investing so much in a player who's not ready to go.
Caserio said Stingley's size (6-foot, 190 pounds), experience against top-tier talent and ability to play the ball were among the reasons Houston picked him.
"When you factor everything in, we felt comfortable with the pick, I would say," Caserio said. "From a health standpoint that's always a question, where was he or where is he from a foot standpoint. I think, in the end, we felt comfortable with what the final diagnosis was going to be. I'd say he's certainly working through it this spring. I think, and I'd say not specific to Derek, but during the course of the spring, you'll have different players at different stages that may or not be available for practice. Doesn't necessarily mean anything. It just means we're working through our process with those players, but the expectations for those players will be ready for training camp."
Feeling "comfortable" with the player you take as the No. 3 overall pick is hardly a ringing endorsement, but how Stingley plays in the 2022 season will ultimately determine just how comfortable Caserio, head coach Lovie Smith and Texans fans are with the selection.
For now, though, the Lisfranc injury that hobbled Stingley in 2021 could slow down his arrival to camp.