Packers fans debate every offseason if the Packers draft a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL Draft. It is a useless practice at this point. Green Bay has not taken a receiver in the first round since 2002. With their first-round pick in 2021, the Packers selected Eric Stokes, cornerback from the University of Georgia. The pick may not have been the one that fans wanted. However, it ended up being the one the Packers needed last regular season.
Eric Stokes Kept the Packers Secondary Afloat in 2021
When the Packers selected Eric Stokes, he projected to be their third cornerback behind starters Jaire Alexander and Kevin King. Stokes played just eight defensive snaps in the Packers’ Week 1 loss to the Saints. However, both Alexander and King missed significant time with injuries in 2021. Eric Stokes became a starter from then on.
Of course, Rasul Douglas was signed to help provide some relief in the secondary. It was an excellent pickup as he had five interceptions in 12 games (two of which he returned for touchdowns). However, Stokes also established himself as a premier lockdown cornerback in the NFL.
Practice Made Perfect for Stoke in Year No. 1
In 16 games (12 starts) for the Packers, Eric Stokes had 14 passes defended, one interception, and 55 tackles. As a rookie cornerback, opposing quarterbacks often targeted Stokes, hoping to take advantage of his inexperience. The joke was on them, though. During training camp in 2021, Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams spent many practices picking on him. While it would have been easy to become frustrated, Eric Stokes realized that Rodgers and Adams are the best at their respective positions. By picking on him early and often, they prepared him for the role he would eventually take on.
As a result of practicing against the best quarterback and wide receiver in the NFL for weeks, Stokes put up numbers that most cornerbacks could only dream of. He allowed 48 receptions (49.5 completion percentage). This is despite being targeted 97 times. Eric Stokes gave up just 5.3 yards per target, a lower number than his equally surprising counterpart Rasul Douglas (5.5). He also gave up just three touchdown passes all season. This total was one fewer than Trevon Diggs and equal to Jalen Ramsey’s. AP named both Diggs and Ramsey to First-Team All-Pro in 2021. Equally as impressive, Eric Stokes held opposing quarterbacks to a passer rating of 71.3 when they targeted him. This rivals Ramsey, who gave up a passer rating of 71.1.
Matt LaFleur Spoke Highly of Stokes After the 2021 Season
After the Packers' 2021 season ended, the media asked head coach Matt LaFleur about Stokes and his role. LaFleur had high praise for the rookie cornerback:
“He comes to work with the right attitude, with the right mentality, and I think he’ll continue to get better and better and better the more we progress through this thing. I just love what he’s all about as a person. I think he has a really great skill set to complement that, and we’re fortunate to have that guy on our football team.”
In 2022, Eric Stokes is now a veteran and considered part of the best cornerback trios in the NFL. Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt, former college teammates and both first-round picks, now join him on the defense.
The Georgia defense is well-known in college football for being one of the best in the country. Now the Green Bay Packers have three of their best products, and their veteran leader is Eric Stokes.
Eric Stokes Booking Agent Contact Information
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