The Green Bay Packers made nine picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, and, as with any draft class, no one knows for sure how good any one of these picks will be. Because of that, you won’t be finding me doing any grades of picks before they hit the field.
What can be seen, however, is what traits guys have that will likely translate positively or negatively to the pros. Every player in the draft has some skill or ability that puts them apart from the thousands of other college players not being drafted. If a guy is in the NFL, there’s a reason. On the flip side, there’s a reason that none of these guys were picked earlier than they were.
Everyone has strengths to be excited about and weaknesses to be worried about, and that’s what we’ll be looking at today.
1st Round – Eric Stokes – CB – Georgia
His main style out on an island is press-man coverage. Many will point to his speed or athleticism, but I’m most excited about his willingness and ability to get up in receivers’ faces and not give them anything easy. Last season, Green Bay Packers’ fans everywhere, myself included, were infuriated by Mike Pettine’s soft zone calls on third down that conceded easy yardage and allowed the offense to move the chains without much effort. With Stokes and Jaire playing up on the line of scrimmage, this won’t be the case anymore. Stokes won’t play perfect coverage every time, and he’ll get exposed a few times, but that’s lightyears better than giving opposing offenses easy first downs on underneath routes when they have a chance to get off the field.
As I just said, he’ll probably get exposed in man coverage. Rookie corners often have a tough time adjusting, and his negative is the fact that he’s not a great technician with his footwork or hands. If he gets beat, he can use his speed to recover, but good route runners will make life very hard for him, and teams will attack him hard, not wanting to throw at one of the best in the game with 23 on the other side of the field.