With the options all they’ll have, a former NFL general manager thinks the Detroit Lions should take one of the top cornerbacks in the 2022 class second overall.
The Detroit Lions could have an easy decision with the second overall pick next Thursday night, if Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson is available. But if he’s gone No. 1 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, there’s little consensus on what they’ll do.
Sirius XM NFL host Mark Dominik spoke to reporters on Tuesday, including Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. If Hutchinson is gone, the former Buccaneers general manager tabbed two guys the Lions should take at No. 2-LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. and NC State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu.
“I think those are the two guys that I’d bet you that are on their mock if Aidan’s not there,”
Ekwonu is a strained fit for the Lions, with Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell holding down the tackle spots for the next few seasons. Seemingly with that in mind, Dominik went deeper with his thoughts on Stingley.
Mark Dominik thinks the Detroit Lions should take Derek Stingley at No. 2
There’s so much talent in that young man and it’s so good, and so when you watch the early tape you’re blown away, and to me he tested out still that same way,” Dominik said. “You’re holding your breath in terms of injury, his arc, but that’s where you have your orthopedic doctors really play a huge role for organizations and sit there and say, ‘Is there anything you see here?’”
Stingley missed a big chunk of last season with a Lisfranc injury, and his last two seasons at LSU were impacted by injuries. But he seemed to dismiss concerns about his health and recovery with an excellent Pro Day showing.
Dominik also said he prefers Stingley to Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner.
“I like Gardner a lot. I like Stingley better,” Dominik said. “So the best way to say this, Ahmad has probably got a better floor. Stingley has a better ceiling, so that’s the risk-reward that you have to decide what you want to take.”
Escalating salaries for cornerbacks, in the wake of Denzel Ward’s new deal with the Cleveland Browns, are part of the picture for Dominik too.
Since salaries at cornerback now are over the $20 million mark — anybody that’s over $20 million a year now in terms of NFL talent, it’s not hard to take them that high and, look, those two guys are going to go in the top 10. I’ll be shocked if they don’t, and you’re not going to get another chance to get one. So if you like them, you’re going to have to go take them and in this day and age.
It remains unlikely the Lions take Stingley, or Gardner for that matter, with the second overall pick. But they are two of the potential options being talked about, for better or worse.