Marquez Valdes-Scantling still considers himself the fastest man on the Green Bay Packers’ roster heading into the 2021 season. First-round rookie cornerback Eric Stokes would prefer to see him back up that claim.
After Valdes-Scantling told reporters over the weekend that there was “no question” he was still the quickest Packer on the roster, Stokes got the opportunity to respond on Tuesday and issued a clear challenge (all in good fun) to the fourth-year wide receiver: “He can go ahead and meet me on the line.”
Stokes, who ran his official 40-yard dash in 4.29 seconds at Georgia’s Pro Day, adds an undeniable speed element to the Packers’ secondary that should eventually help him secure a spot in their starting lineup. Prior to the 2021 NFL draft, he had even been trying to break the all-time record in the 40 of 4.22 seconds, run by John Ross in 2017.
When it comes to comparing his speed with Valdes-Scantling’s, though, the drive to be the best is nothing but a little friendly competition between Packers teammates, both of whom directly benefit from getting to go all-out against each other on the practice field.
“I still love him, you know?” Stokes said of Valdes-Scantling, smiling. “I’ll just let him think that, but I still love him.”
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Aaron Rodgers Aims to Make Stokes Better
Stokes has been put through the wringer during his first several camp practices with the Packers. Not only has the rookie been filling in as the team’s starting cornerback opposite Jaire Alexander while veteran Kevin King has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, but he has also been shown no mercy when it comes to taking on the Packers’ first-team unit.
On more than one occasion, Stokes has been asked to cover Davante Adams in one-on-one situations where help is either distant or nonexistent. It might sound like a losing battle with Aaron Rodgers, the league’s reigning MVP, throwing Adams the ball — and, so far, it mostly has been for Stokes — but Rodgers has also tried to help the first-round rookie stay cognizant of how much it will eventually pay off for him.
“He was just pretty much telling me he would make me better, day in and day out, to where if I’ve got any question, just please don’t be hesitant to ask him and everything,” Stokes said Tuesday of his on-field conversation with Rodgers during one of the first week’s practices. “We’ve all got one goal in mind and it doesn’t matter, we finna be here together and he’s trying to make me the best person that I can be.”