Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst spoke to the media after selecting Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes with the 29th overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft.
He talked at length about Stokes and his fit with the Packers.
Here’s a collection of quotes from Gutekunst on the pick:
– Quick introduction: “Really good corner in the SEC, played for Georgia. Has the excellent size we look for, 6-1, he’s about 195 pounds. Just a rare athlete. Premier speed. And just a good kid. We’re excited to add him to our group and see what he can do this season.”
– On targeting him in first round: “As we went through the process today, he was just kind of sticking out like a sore thumb up on our board. Didn’t really think he’d have a chance to get there. Thought when we started there might be an outside chance. As the board fell, and some of the corners went off early, we weren’t really sure he was going to get to us. We were really excited that he did,” Gutekunst said.
– On his athleticism and growth: “His explosiveness is off the charts. He’s a strong, strong athlete. They do a great job down there at Georgia, training those guys. I think as he continued to play in the SEC, you saw his confidence grow and grow and grow.”
– On his fit in Green Bay: “As we got to know him throughout this process, he just fit our profile, not only as a player but as a person. I think he’s going to be a great fit, not only on the field but in our locker room.”
– On trading back: “We had some conversations about moving back, in case we were left without a player to pick, but once we got there, we had some options to move back, but we just didn’t want to pass up Eric.”
– On playing right away: “I do think Eric is a pretty quick study, and I think he’ll get in that mix somehow someway this season. He’s kind of a rare talent athlete. Once he masters the mental part of our defense, I think he’ll be able to contribute.”
– On potential: “Watching him go from a really talented athlete maybe his first year or so to where he was the last year and a half. He’s really got a great upside. He’s a really good football player right now. I think the sky is the limit.”
– On what stands out: “The 4.29 (40) always gets your attention…Pat Moore, our area scout, does a fantastic job, was very high on him early. Before he tested, before we got to see him as an athlete, we interviewed him. And he’s such a genuine human being. I think Packers fans are going to love him. He’s a quality human being who is really driven. He’s overcome a lot of adversity in his young life. Obviously, being a top player in the SEC and being a rare athlete. As you check the boxes, he added up.”
– On tape vs. top competition: “We probably watched the Alabama tape this year more than (the rest)…with those cats they had running around. We always start with the best competition. So when you’re watching a corner you immediately go to the high-powered offenses and receivers and there was none better than Alabama this year. Spent a lot of time on that. Certainly LSU’s offense last year. Spent a lot of time there. I’ve seen those games more than I wanted to.”
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Green Bay Packers draft Georgia CB Eric Stokes at No. 29 overall in 2021 NFL draft