Eric Stokes was taken with the 29th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. At the time all Green Bay seemed to be looking for was an upgrade over Kevin King. What they ended up getting was a legitimate replacement for Jaire Alexander while he was injured. Eric Stokes’ rookie season was incredible for a lot of reasons, but these ones may take the cake.
Zach Kruse posted a pretty incredible PFF stat from Stokes’ rookie year:
Stokes surprised many in his rookie 2021 campaign. While he was a first-round pick, the Packers were thought to have reached on the Georgia product. We now know that was far from the case.
- The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder finished 2021 among the 25 most valuable cornerbacks in the NFL, according to PFF WAR.
- He allowed the lowest rate of separation on his targets league-wide (24.0%)
- Ranked 15th at the position in yards per target (5.9).
- All the press experience he got in college is paying off, with him allowing just seven receptions on 27 targets when playing in press.
Due to injuries, Eric Stokes was asked to play CB1 way sooner than the Packers originally anticipated. At 22 years old, Stokes was going one on one against the likes of Justin Jefferson, Jamaar Chase, Tyreek Hill, and many others. Was it perfect all the time? No. Did it exceed expectations of most rookie CBs? Absolutely it did.
How did Eric Stokes ranks against other Rookie CBs?
Among rookie corners with minimum 200 snaps, he racked up leading numbers despite often guarding the top receivers on opposing teams. According to PFF he:
- Led rookies in completion percentage allowed (51%)
- Led rookies in forced incompletions (12)
- Led rookies in yards allowed after catch per receptions (2.69)
- He was also second in snaps per reception (12.5) and opponent passer rating (78.8).
It was incredible to see what Eric Stokes was doing as a rookie, let alone when being asked to play CB1 most of the year.