The Cincinnati Bengals have drafted a few franchise-changing first-rounders in years prior, but that won’t be the case in 2022.
Cornerback and current top-ten prospect Derek Stingley would have completed the LSU trifecta with Burrow and Chase, and he does share a bit of history with Chase in particular, but Stingley is completely out of reach for the Bengals.
Widely considered a five-star recruit, Stingley gets selected in the top-ten of many mock drafts, possibly by the Minnesota Vikings or New York Jets. With pick No. 31, the Bengals have no chance of picking up the star corner prospect and could instead play against him on the field in 2022.
Stingley’s relationship to Chase has been well-documented ever since the two faced each other in high school. Chase attended New Orleans’ Archbishop Rummel while Stingley attended The Dunham School in Baton Rouge, and Chase and Stingley’s paths ultimately converged at LSU.
Stingley had this to say about playing with Chase:
"“That was a fun matchup. He made me better. I’m sure I helped him a little bit. He’s a strong receiver, fast, he gets in and out of his breaks.”"
Cincinnati Bengals’ Ja’Marr Chase could play against a familiar face in 2022
Chase and Stingley played together in 2019, when Chase recorded 1,780 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns and Stingley recorded 38 total tackles, six interceptions, and 15 passes defended.
Each player was respectively dominant in his own way at LSU, and when Chase went on to post a record-breaking Year 1 in the NFL, Stingley wasn’t surprised one bit. He told reporters, “He’s Ja’Marr Chase. I’ve seen that from high school.” Stingley also named Chase as the best receiver he’s gone against in his three seasons in the SEC.
The respect and admiration is there, and no doubt both players share a close bond from their college ball-playing days. Whereas Chase has already settled nicely in his new home in Cincy, Stingley’s future in the NFL has yet to be decided. His draft stock has dipped due to injuries and his disappointing last two seasons (compared to his freshman season), though as of now Stingley still ranks as one of the best corner prospects on the board.
The Draft Network describes Stingley as a “generational talent” and starting-caliber corner, as Stingley’s speed and athleticism allow him to match up with WR1s and Stingley also possesses “a rare instinctual ability to intercept passes thrown his way.”
From one rare talent to another, Chase and Stingley could soon be pitted against each other and form an intense rivalry in the league. The two starlets have their whole futures ahead of them.