After the completion of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers gave injury updates on two players who suffered serious injuries during last season and updated their status for the coming season. The update explained some decisions GM Brian Gutekunst made during the draft and why he chose not to add players at certain positions.

Packers Injury Updates, Player Number One: CB Eric Stokes

Packers cornerback Eric Stokes has struggled with injuries the last two seasons. The former first-round pick out of Georgia enjoyed a strong rookie season that saw him thrust into a starting role due to injuries to Kevin King and Jaire Alexander.

In 2022, Stokes struggled with Joe Barry’s coverage strategy which did not play to his strengths. Then, he suffered season-ending knee and foot injuries during the team’s Week 9 game against Detroit.

Stokes started the 2023 campaign on the PUP list before returning to action in Week 6. He lasted all of four plays on special teams before he injured his hamstring and returned to the IR with a hamstring injury.

Stokes finally returned to the lineup in Week 15. He was pressed into starting duty but clearly wasn’t ready to play. After struggling through two starts, he suffered another hamstring injury and was done for the season.

Head coach Matt LaFleur gave an update on Stokes after the draft. “He’s been full go, he looks great,” LaFleur explained to reporters when asked about Stokes.

Both Stokes and wide receiver Christian Watson went to see a hamstring specialist earlier in the offseason. LaFleur is pleased with the early prognosis for both players.

“Once you get into [a] more competitive environment, less controlled, I think you want to see how people respond,” LaFleur said. “But I’ve been really happy with how these guys have been training in regards to the routines and just watching the effort that they’ve been putting on tape.”

The Result of the Update on Stokes

Entering the draft, many experts felt the Packers could add a cornerback early on. This was due in part due to the questionable status of Stokes and his hamstrings.

But the Packers did not select a cornerback until the seventh round when they added Kalen King out of Penn State. Before the draft, Gutekunst said he was comfortable with the team’s cornerbacks. That indicated the Packers were confident Stokes would be healthy and be a better fit in the new defense implemented by Jeff Hafley which should play more to his strengths.

It also indicated confidence in Carrington Valentine, a rookie, a seventh-round pick from 2023 who showed promise last season.

Packers Injury Updates, Player Number Two: Edge Kingsley Enagbare

The second injury update given was on edge rusher Kingsley Enagbare. The South Carolina product suffered a knee injury during the Packers playoff win over the Cowboys in Dallas. After the game, it was believed Enagbare suffered a torn ACL. He was expected to miss the start of the 2024 season while recovering from the injury.

Now, it appears the injury was not as serious as initially feared. “He’s still fighting his way back,” LaFleur said. “It was never confirmed it was an ACL. He did not have surgery. He’s still rehabbing through it, and we’re still optimistic about it.”

Apparently, there was not a full ACL tear. Gutekunst also commented on Enagbare’s status. “I don’t want to get into the details of it,” he said. “We’re still working through it and we’re still hopeful that there will be no surgery. He’s looking good. He’s working hard right now. But walking out of that locker room that night, that was a tough break. I think over the course of time we got some positive news. We were able to keep it quiet, which was good, for at least a little while. Obviously, that was a little bit of a blessing but we’re still working through it. We’ll see where that goes.”

The Result of the Update on Enagbare

Many experts also believed the Packers would add an edge rusher in the draft, in part because Enagbare was not expected to be ready to start the season. They did not despite adding 11 players and having as many as 13 picks before making two trades to move up.

The Packers will stick with Rashan Gary and Preston Smith as the starters. Next on the depth chart are Enagbare and last year’s first round pick, Lukas Van Ness.

The switch to a four-man front under Hafley will have the edge rushers lining up at defensive end rather than outside linebacker with their hands on the ground, but Gutekunst was comfortable enough with his present roster not to add another player at the position.

Overall, this injury update on both players is positive and provides hope for the team heading into the new season. The next step for both Stokes and Enagbare will be how they perform during OTAs in May. But these updates are reasons for optimism and explain why the Packers didn’t prioritize these positions in the draft.



Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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