ATHENS — Every option was on the table for the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Eric Stokes was the one that made the most sense in every respect, Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst said late Thursday night.
“The things that stick out about him, his explosiveness is off the charts,” Gutekunst said in a Zoom interview. “He’s a strong, strong athlete, and I think they do a great job at Georgia training those guys. As he continued to play in the SEC you saw his confidence grow and grow. I think that led him to have the kind of year that he had this year.
“As we got to know him through this process, he not only fit our profile as a player, but as a person, Gutekunst said. “I think he’s going to be a great fit, not only on the field, but in our locker room.”
Georgia has produced first-round NFL draft picks each of the past four seasons under Kirby Smart, and Stokes represents one of the programs best developmental stories.
A converted high school running back, Stokes was a 3-star prospect and the lowest rated player in the Bulldogs’ 2017 signing class and redshirted his first season.
Gutekunst said the Packers have been watching Stokes’ development closely.
“Watching him go from (being) a really talented athlete his first year, to where he was the last year and a half,” Gutekunst said of Stokes, a Covington product who earned All-American honors last season.
“He’s really got a great upside, but he’s a really good football player right now, and I think the sky is the limit.”