Packers: Eric Stokes needs to start ahead of Kevin King

Green Bay Packers, Eric Stokes (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Eric Stokes (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

Eric Stokes should start for the Packers ahead of Kevin King in Week 2.

First-round pick Eric Stokes didn’t get too many opportunities on defense in his Green Bay Packers debut, but that should change next week against the Detroit Lions.

According to Evan “Tex” Western of Acme Packing Company, Stokes only played on eight defensive snaps against the New Orleans Saints. That’s surprising. But he did make an impact with one pass defense.

Starter Kevin King, meanwhile, played the majority of the snaps and struggled. King needed to, at the very least, put in a solid game coming off a tough 2020 season mostly remembered for his poor performance in the NFC Championship Game.

Instead, he was at fault on two of Jameis Winston’s five touchdown passes. One was a mixup with Chandon Sullivan. The other was all on King, as he was beaten deep by Saints receiver Deonte Harris for a 55-yard touchdown.

King might have more experience and has played well for the Packers in the past. Maybe the Packers don’t feel like Stokes is quite ready to start. But they should give the rookie a chance. He was a first-round pick for a reason.

Green Bay’s secondary should have a nice bounce-back game against the Detroit offense next Monday night, but some big challenges await in the weeks to come with games against the San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Cincinnati Bengals. All three teams have multiple wide receivers that can hurt a defense.

After a disappointing 2020 season and now a poor start in Week 1, can the Packers still trust King to be a reliable starter at cornerback?

From Week 2, it’s time to give Stokes more of a chance. He deserves more than eight defensive snaps. Stokes should be starting ahead of King next week against the Lions.