Matt LaFleur’s first impression of Packers rookies Eric Stokes, Amari Rodgers

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Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur was provided his first opportunity to see his rookie class in action during minicamp over the weekend.

First-round pick Eric Stokes and third-round pick Amari Rodgers were two of the draft picks in the spotlight during the event on Friday and Saturday. LaFleur, the Packers’ third-year coach, liked what he saw from both rookies.

Stokes, the 29th overall pick, looks the part to LaFleur, both physically and on the move.

“He certainly looks impressive. He has great size and length, and the speed, you can really see that,” LaFleur said Friday. “You can tell he’s not too threatened by guys running by him, which is a huge advantage for defensive backs. It allows you to play really sticky coverage.”

Stokes stands almost 6-1 and runs the 40-yard dash in under 4.3 seconds.

LaFleur also liked how his first-round pick communicated with coaches and teammates during the minicamp.

“He’s just a great communicator, a great competitor. I loved the rapport and interaction I saw between him and Jerry Gray and Ryan Downard out there. I thought that was outstanding,” LaFleur said. “Just really excited. He’s a great kid, you can tell. He’s got a very infectious personality. Looking forward to getting to know him better.”

LaFleur said the Packers will be putting a “big emphasis” on improving ball skills for Stokes, who intercepted four passes during his final season at Georgia but wasn’t a ball-hawking cornerback in college. Getting improvement on his ability to play the ball in the air could be an important next step for Stokes.

“He can be an elite corner in this league. And when you find corners that can take the ball away, there’s nothing more valuable than that,” LaFleur said.

Like Stokes, Rodgers looked impressive physically, even at 5-9.

“He’s a well-built kid. He looks like a grown man. He has that big, running back, thick frame,” LaFleur said. “Then you watch him run routes and he doesn’t move like most traditional running backs. We’re really excited about just the versatility that he could potentially bring to our offense and also his contribution on special teams.”

Rodgers, at 212 pounds, led the ACC in catches last season while operating mostly from the slot. He plays like Randall Cobb but looks like Ty Mongomery.

While LaFleur is excited about Rodgers’ ability to impact the game in multiple ways, he said the rookie will focus on the receiver position “first and foremost” before the team branches out and puts more on his plate.

LaFleur said he’s certain receivers coach Jason Vrable and assistant Ruvell Martin will get Rodgers “caught up to the veterans in short order.”

“We’ll load up as much as he can handle,” LaFleur said.

Returning punts and kicks will be part of maximizing his versatility.

“He’s going to have that opportunity. We’ll work him at both punt return and kick return. We’ll see what he can handle mentally,” LaFleur said. “He seems to be a very sharp guy that’s very hungry. That’s always an important part of the process.”

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