Cory's Corner: Expect Big Things From Eric Stokes

The defensive back's energy and attitude will change this defense. 

This will be an explosive year for Eric Stokes.

You can say I’m off my rocker, or that I’ve got a screw loose or that I’m nuttier than Mr. Peanut. 

Stokes was a rookie last year and really impressed. He started 14 games, had 55 tackles — with 40 of them being the solo variety. He also had nine pass breakups and allowed a passer rating of 78.8, both numbers that are very solid for a rookie defensive back. 

This year will be different because a healthy Jaire Alexander will be playing on the other side. He won’t feel the need to do so much because Alexander is arguably one of the best cover corners in the game. Stokes has already grown so much through on-the-job training that he has nowhere to go but up.

Stokes, 23, was drafted with the No. 29 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He was the fifth and final defensive back taken in the first round that year. Carolina’s Jaycee Horn was taken eighth, Denver’s Patrick Surtain II was taken ninth, Tennessee’s Caleb Farley was taken 22nd and Cleveland’s Greg Newsome II was taken 26th. 

I’m not saying that Stokes’ career arc is going to supersede any of those guys, but Stokes has the tools to succeed for the foreseeable future. He is physical with receivers, he has good speed but most of all, he isn’t afraid. 

He wants to do whatever it takes to help the Packers win. If that means covering Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson, a matchup Stokes knows that he is likely to fail, so be it. He is one of three Packers players that cut his teeth with the University of Georgia. 

It’s that never-say-die attitude that turns good defenses into great ones. It makes respected defenses into feared units and it changes a ho-hum attitude into a junkyard dog mentality. 

Stokes isn’t going to have a big year because of how many interceptions he gets, how many tackles he racks up or or how many pass breakups he musters. He’s going to have a big year because his play is going to change a defensive culture.

His teammates are going to see how much he wants to win and then by design, do the same thing. The fever is soon to spread through the Green Bay locker room and then out to its opponents. 

Expect big things from Stokes because of who he is and what he represents.
 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (16)

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Rarescope's picture

July 02, 2022 at 06:41 am

Ok gotta start the long weekend with some off-season Cory ribbing. We’ve got Cobb and Lewis who have never won a super bowl and are just lucky to still be in the league at their age, but it’s going to be a second year cornerback who inspires the team to go all the way? I guess young blood can be inspiring and having those three Georgia guys in there together could give them some inspirational power but I’m still calling deadzone puff piece on this article.

I guess I should just be grateful I had something new to read this morning other than pantzburp fart jokes :p

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NickPerry's picture

July 02, 2022 at 08:09 am

Hmmm...Well I tell you, friend, at the beginning of July there's NOTHING but "Deadzone puff pieces" being written on EVERY NFL site.

And I completely agree, puff pieces are always better than fart jokes. LOL... No offense pantzburp!

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Coldworld's picture

July 02, 2022 at 09:04 am

I agree. I’m not always on board with Corey’s musings, but by this point in the dead zone it’s a choice of nothing or some form of speculative piece that, if lucky, might at least prompt an interesting discussion.

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Rarescope's picture

July 03, 2022 at 09:23 am

Yep I was just using it as an excuse to poke a little fun.

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Pantz_Burp's picture

July 02, 2022 at 01:04 pm

Yeah, well...older chicks dig me. 👌😁💪👍✌️

And, at least it will be the 4th of July soon and NOT the 4th and 26th of July (still haunted by that..I think it was against the Eagles?)

Oh, just a heads up...I won't accept any Christmas gifts this year after 12/27. Sorry, not trying to be a snob but....it must be done.

>^••^<

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mrtundra's picture

July 02, 2022 at 08:21 am

I think Stokes will dominate Justin Jefferson, this season, if he is matched up with him. If Stokes can cover him, man to man, great, if he needs help over the top, so be it. But just because Jefferson is on the field, it doesn't spell doom and gloom for Stokes, or for the Packers. The vikings had Jefferson for an entire season and they did not get to .500. Let the vikings be the ones worrying about winning with Jefferson, etc. and how they plan to beat our DBs, Stokes included. It will be an uphill battle for the vikings, not for Green Bay! Kick purple ass this season and maybe the NFL scheduler will stop scheduling the vikings'-Packers' game early, each season. Love me some Stokes! The kid has been and will continue to be great for the Packers! GO PACK, GO!!!

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LambeauPlain's picture

July 02, 2022 at 11:15 am

I am confident Mr. Jefferson will have to cope with Alexander the Great. Barry has stated JA will be the first matchup decision on game days.

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Stroh's picture

July 02, 2022 at 10:06 pm

Jaire will take the Justin Jefferson assignment before Stokes

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PatrickGB's picture

July 02, 2022 at 09:04 am

Stokes did quite well in his first year. I expect that teams will still throw at him until he makes them pay. He still has a ways to go but he has all the tools to go there. I see his upside. I guess the only question is “Who plays the Star position?” It might vary from game to game but I see Stokes remaining on the outside due to his youth and speed.

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Stroh's picture

July 02, 2022 at 10:09 pm

Yeah, the Star CB, will vary depending on the match up. Stokes would be down the list of players at Star CB. I don't think he is at all suited for slot CB duties.

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jont's picture

July 02, 2022 at 10:07 am

I like Stokes a lot. He was quietly a very important piece of the defense last year. He should see a bigger role this season.

I expect his numbers might not look so good, however. With JA on the other side of the field, Stokes's guy is going to see a lot balls coming his way, and some of them are going to connect. Some of his numbers might seem high as a result.

Overall, though, I have some pretty high hopes for this secondary. Heck, they haven't given up a catch yet.

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Oppy's picture

July 02, 2022 at 10:58 pm

Absolutely agree. Was just going to comment that while Cory seems to indicate that Stokes "won't have to do as much" because JA will be back on the field, the exact opposite is likely to be true.

If Jaire comes back into form and 100%, opposing QBs won't be looking his way too often and that means Stokes will have to step up his game as he will probably be tested more than he was in 2021.

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LambeauPlain's picture

July 02, 2022 at 11:26 am

This is the time of the year this Packer fan is hoping for good reasons to stay on the Brewer Bandwagon.

Thanks for another summer ride, Crew!

Hopefully the Pack puts it together like the Brewers have. Fantastic pitching, great defense, and now the offense is coming alive.

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Pantz_Burp's picture

July 02, 2022 at 01:10 pm

It seems like everyone has a different opinion on Stokes. I guess, different stokes for different folks...

brilliant...mic drop! 😁

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Stroh's picture

July 02, 2022 at 10:05 pm

Stokes doesn't have good speed, he has outstanding speed, having clocked in the 4.2's in the 40. And he is hardly a physical player.

Stokes might very well have an outstanding season. He should... for the most part he'll be lining up opposite every teams #2. Jaire will once again draw the #1 WR, on a weekly basis.

Thr Justin Jefferson's of the NFL will be Jaire's responsibility.

Clearly the Packers will have a dominant secondary, but pass rush is going to be the determining factor, whether they are a top 3 Defense and that falls on Rashon Gary going from very good to utterly Dominant.

There are at least 3 or 4 defensive players who will determine the Packers fate before Stokes. That isn't a knock on him as a player by any means. Stokes ascending certainly helps, but he isn't the determining player in that regard. Jaire, Gary, Clark, Campbell certainly, and Wyatt and Walker are in the same category as Stokes, as players who could push the Defense to the upper echelon.

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PatrickGB's picture

July 03, 2022 at 08:08 am

Stroh, I agree. I see more depth inside the line this year and that means pressure on the QB. Perhaps there will be more quick throws to the outlets. That means that coverage on the TE, RB and slot WR will be critical.

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