By: Tanner Elliott
6’1” 185 lbs.
University of Georgia
Eric Stokes is a natural athlete, and you can see it almost every play. His coverage isn’t the greatest, but he makes up for it by being a great athlete. There were times when Stokes got beat, but either broke up the pass or got an interception because his athleticism kept him in the play. His ball skills are also some of the best in the draft. He has the ability to read the quarterback's eyes and jump a route or get a hand in between the receivers to break up the pass. Stokes is a great play-maker who can change the momentum of the game at any time. He can block kicks, get interceptions, or even rush the passer on a corner blitz.
Stokes isn’t bad in coverage, but he isn’t the best, either. He allows an inside release too often, over pursues receivers, and sometimes shies away from his man to try to make a play on the ball. Most of these are covered up due to his athleticism, but when he faces NFL receivers, his athleticism won’t always cover him. His coverage skills being so not-very-technical, go hand-in-hand with him being such a raw prospect. He has very poor technique that could cause a lot of penalties in the NFL, as well as a lot of blown coverages. This is fixable but will cause some growing pains during the start of his career.
Eric Stokes has all the tools to be a good NFL corner, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a team moved him to safety. His frame is a bit small to play safety currently, but if he is able to put more weight on, he could evolve into a starting caliber NFL safety. His draft stock rose significantly after running a 4.25 40-yard dash during his pro day. I expect Stokes to go in the second round, but he could go in the back end of the first round much like Noah Igbinoghene did last year.