GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers first-round draft pick Eric Stokes has all the raw ingredients to be a star cornerback in the NFL. At 6-foot 5/8, he’s got size. With 4.29 speed in the 40-yard dash, he’s got elite athleticism. With 32 3/4-inch arms, he’s got great length.
“I pretty much believe I’m one of the best. I’m trying to solidify that I’m not that underrated,” Stokes said at Georgia’s pro day. “I’m athletic, but everything else I’m going to work on. I am going to continue to grow as a player and a person.”
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Stokes had zero interceptions and nine passes defensed in each of his first two seasons but four interceptions and eight passes defensed in nine games in 2020 to earn second-team all-SEC and some All-American honors. According to Sports Info Solutions, he ranked second in the draft class with 12.1 receiving yards allowed per game, third with 1.1 receptions allowed per game, fourth with 2.9 yards allowed per zone-coverage snap and eighth with 4.7 yards allowed per man-coverage snap.
The four interceptions hint at ball skills that are better than what they are. The four were gifts from quarterback/receiver miscues. He had a few drops during his pro day workout.
“I know for a fact that I have to improve my ball skills,” Stokes said. “Today, all the speed is great… but me dropping things that I know for a fact I’ve [done] over and over again, that’s the thing that is going to eat me alive the most. All I’m thinking about is the things that I did not do well today.”
Stokes went from an athlete to a standout starter in the rugged SEC. He has room to improve but the time to do so with Kevin King back on a one-year contract and the secondary returning mostly intact.
“People talk about the value on the field and the plays he’s made and the speed he has,” Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said. “For all those things he’s great at, he’s a lot better person than anything else. He’s meant a lot to our organization. He’ll mean a lot to the next organization he goes to both on and off the field.”