Eric Stokes is certainly one of the names to watch as we approach the draft. After an eye-popping pro day, Eric Stokes has seen his draft stock skyrocket. Once the season concluded, most scouts regarded Stokes as a later-round draft pick which most definitely is not the case after he ran an unofficial 4.25 40 yard dash at the Georgia pro day. After this showcase, most teams would be glad if they were able to pick him after the second round.
Eric Stokes Stats And Measurables:
Weight: 185 pounds
2018 Stats: 20 TOTAL/16 SOLO/9 PD
2019 Stats: 38 TOTAL/30 SOLO/9 PD/1 SACK/1 FF
2020 Stats:20 TOTAL/14 SOLO/4 INT/2 TD/4 PD
1. It would be impossible to write an Eric Stokes scouting report without mentioning his phenomenal speed. In the NFL, Stokes’s speed will really help him out as it is pretty much required to be able to keep up with today’s receivers. After he ran an unofficial 4.25 40 yard dash at his pro day, which is one of the faster times we’ve seen in recent memory, his draft stock has risen significantly. Stokes’s speed is one of the main reasons his draft stock has taken such a big leap, reasonably so as that much speed is truly out of this world. In the modern NFL, that level of speed is widely cherished.
2. Something else Stokes does extremely well is making plays on the ball. His ball skills are special, and during his time at Georgia he was able to showcase this, breaking up a total of 22 passes and intercepting 4 throws. His ability to break on the ball is next level and his playmaking ability really shifted momentum for Georgia when they needed it. His ability to capitalize on opportunities to make plays is among the best in this class, and it really boosted Georgia, especially in close games.
3. Another strength of Stokes is his ability to locate the ball after identifying the route. Most of the time when Stokes was targeted, he had already diagnosed the route and was ready to make a break on the ball. This is really important as most star NFL corners are able to identify the route a receiver is running extremely quickly, and Stokes already has a step ahead on most of his peers in this topic. When matched up in man coverage (which Georgia runs regularly) Stokes doesn’t lose his man easily. Georgia runs a 3-4 defense, a defense commonly used by a plethora of NFL teams. This defense usually depends on corners and safeties to lock down their assignments in both man and zone, as usually a 3-4 only allows 4 defensive backs, and the majority of the time Georgia runs a two safety shell, meaning that Kirby Smart only has two cornerbacks on the field, usually Stokes and DJ Daniel. This defense requires smart defensive backs that are able to hold their own when isolated, and Stokes has shown that he can do that very well.
1. While Stokes is not bad at jamming receivers off of the line of scrimmage, there is room for improvement. Especially when matched up against larger receivers or even sometimes the rare tight end, Stokes has a hard time knocking them off of their route. This doesn’t mean that he is easily beat off the press, but when he is in press-man coverage, Stokes doesn’t do a great job of hitting his receiver off-balance, and instead only occasionally slows him down, or jabs him once and then lets him go.
2. Another area of concern Stokes will have to work on in the NFL is not being too handsy. Although during his time at Georgia Stokes was not penalized often, there were a couple of times where a flag easily could’ve been thrown. In the NFL, most receivers are able to make these possible penalties more noticeable and Stokes will be flagged much more if he doesn’t work on this. Most teams will try to target Stokes deep to try and draw a flag if he continues to do this, so you have to imagine it will be something he works on at the next level.
As Stokes continues to grow his draft stock, whether it be through team workouts or individual interviews with scouts, the potential for him to be a first-round pick only grows. While he may have some flaws, they are not unfixable, and his potential is extremely high because of it. Stokes has plenty of room for growth, which is something scouts most likely admire about him. His speed and playmaking ability make for an exciting player, one that has the tools to become a star at the next level as long as he works hard at fixing his flaws.
Pros: SPEED, breaking up the pass or intercepting it (ball skills), great at locating the ball,
Weaknesses: even though he isn’t too bad at it he needs to work on jamming receivers especially bigger ones, he tens to get kind of handsy, and although he didn’t get a ton of penalties from it, there were multiple close calls that might be called more in the NFL, especially with smarter receivers that are able to make the contact more noticeable.
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