The Packers do not likely have a starting spot waiting for Eric Stokes upon his return. As we heard in June, the 2021 first-round pick is on track to return as a backup. Green Bay has Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas and Keisean Nixon as its top three corners, and unlike 2022, the team is not planning on changing Douglas’ position to accommodate a cornerback surplus. Douglas moving to safety appears a non-starter, per The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman. Last season, the Packers moved Douglas to a slot role to make room for the returning Alexander. After Stokes’ midseason Lisfranc injury, Douglas moved back to his more natural boundary position.
Stokes, who underwent foot and knee surgeries this offseason, remains on the Packers’ reserve/PUP list. The team designated him for return two weeks ago, setting his activation deadline at Oct. 24. Stokes was running at full speed in July and would have been ready to come back had multiple hamstring issues not slowed him during training camp, Schneidman adds. Stokes fared better as a rookie, when the Pack were down Alexander, than he did last season. Pro Football Focus graded Stokes outside the top 100 among corners last season, and this backup role does not present an ideal rebound opportunity.
Here is the latest from NFL secondaries:
- Mentioned as a trade candidate last week, Jeremy Chinn now looks likely to finish his contract year in Carolina. The fourth-year Panthers safety sustained a significant quadriceps injury that ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter expects to sideline him for up to six weeks. Despite being a versatile cog who has been a Panthers regular throughout his career, Chinn has seen his playing time dip in Ejiro Evero‘s defense this season. After logging snap rates over 90% from 2020-22, the former Defensive Rookie of the Year runner-up has played 52% of Carolina’s defensive snaps. The Panthers prioritized Chinn as a foundational piece before last year’s deadline; his stock has fallen since.
- Bradley Roby avoided the worst-case scenario after suffering a pectoral injury in Week 6. The recent Eagles addition sustained a pectoral strain, per NFL reporter Jordan Schultz, who adds the 10th-year cornerback will avoid IR. In the two games since being signed and quickly promoted to the 53-man roster, Roby has played 46% of Philadelphia’s defensive snaps. The Eagles have already lost their top slot corner, Avonte Maddox. Roby’s setback represents another blow for the defending NFC champions, but the 31-year-old cover man should be back fairly soon.
- C.J. Gardner-Johnson is navigating a longer return timetable, suffering a torn pec in Week 2. The Lions safety, who led the NFL in INTs during his Eagles one-off last season, is believed to be months away from coming back — if he is to return at all — according to the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett. Pectoral tears often end players’ seasons, so it will be interesting if Gardner-Johnson becomes a true candidate to come off IR down the stretch — perhaps if Detroit makes the playoffs.
- Rams corner Derion Kendrick faces two misdemeanor charges in connection with his recent gun arrest, Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times notes. Arrested Monday morning, Kendrick was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and possessing a loaded firearm. While teams regularly deploy players after arrests, waiting for NFL suspensions to come down later, Kendrick did not practice with the Rams upon his release from custody. The 2022 sixth-round pick has started all six Rams games this year. Discipline should be expected, but until a ban surfaces, Kendrick will likely continue to suit up for the team.
- In a Ravens workout that led to safety Andrew Adams being signed, Eric Rowe received an audition, per KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson. An eight-year veteran, Rowe spent the past four seasons with the Dolphins. Rowe, 31, signed a one-year, $1.32MM Panthers deal this offseason but did not make the team. Carolina released Rowe from its practice squad last month.