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Packers CB Eric Stokes ‘hitting some fast speeds’ during offseason practices

Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur believes cornerback Eric Stokes is in a great place both physically and mentally after missing most of the last two years with injuries.

LaFleur said he thinks Stokes and receiver Chrisitan Watson — who both met with hamstring specialists this offseason — “are in the best shape” he’s seen from either player.

Being healthy to start the offseason has made all the difference for Stokes, who looks fit and fast during the workout program.

“I think what this offseason has afforded him was an ability to train. It’s a lot different when you’re coming off an injury and you’re trying to rehab versus when you’re fully healthy and you can train the right way,” LaFleur said last week. “When you look at him physically, his body looks different. He’s hitting some fast speeds out there at practice. I can tell mentally he feels like he’s in a great place.”

Getting back up to full speed and regaining confidence in his body are huge steps for Stokes as he enters a big season.

Stokes, a first-round pick in 2021 who was excellent as a rookie, suffered foot and knee injuries in Week 9 in 2022 and missed the final eight games. He played in only three games while dealing with hamstring injuries last year — meaning Stokes has missed 22 of the last 34 regular season games for the Packers.

General manager Brian Gutekunst declined Stokes’ fifth-year option, so he’ll go into 2024 playing on the final year of his rookie deal.

Can Stokes hit the ground running as a potential starter opposite Jaire Alexander and re-establish himself as a long-term asset for the Packers at a premium position?

Speed is a huge part of Stokes’ game. He ran an official 4.31-second 40-yard dash at the combine before the 2021 draft, and he’s been clocked in the 4.2s.

Much has been made about Watson’s ability to overcome hamstring injuries and be a difference-maker for the Packers offense in 2024. Stokes has a similar opportunity for Jeff Hafley’s defense.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire