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Speed is 'tremendous,' but Packers rookie Stokes wants to be more than a speedster

Posted at 6:33 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 19:33:09-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Eric Stokes' speed is as advertised.

The Packers first round pick - who ran a 4.25 40-yard dash at his pro day - wow'ed in the team's crossover drills on the first day of rookie mini-camp, showcasing his closing speed as he shut down opposing receivers.

"He certainly looks impressive," Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said. "He's got great size and length. And the speed, you can really see that. He's not too threatened with guys running by him."

Perhaps even more impressive is Stokes' eagerness to learn. The 22-year-old spent a significant amount of time one-on-one with defensive backs coach Jerry Gray on Friday, working on his technique.

While speed kills in college, Stokes knows he must turn into a well-rounded player to compete in the NFL.

"Having speed is tremendous," Stokes said. "But at the end of the day, the more I hone into my technique, the more I can do everything else... then I don't have to use speed.

"Later on in my career, if my speed starts declining then I already know how to use technique," Stokes added.

"He's just a great communicator, a great competitor," LaFleur said of Stokes. "I love the rapport and the interaction he had with (the coaches). I thought that was outstanding.

"He's a great kid. He's got an infectious personality and I'm looking forward to getting to know him better."