I am not disappointed in Eric Stokes. I am disappointed for Eric Stokes.
Stokes has been the team’s director of player personnel for the past three seasons. As such, he will no doubt be blamed and jettisoned when the expected coaching and front office purge comes this offseason.
But consider this:
In 2020, working as director of pro personnel under then-chief Kyle Smith, the now-Washington Commanders signed Kendall Fuller, Logan Thomas, and Cornelius Lucas, along with J.D. McKissic, Ronald Darby. Kevin Pierre-Louis, Wes Schweitzer, and Taylor Heinicke.
None of those guys are destined for Canton. But they were all instrumental in helping the Commanders to their last playoff appearance.
Following 2020, Smith was fired. Martin Mayhew was brought in as general manager with Marty Hurney became the team's executive vice president of player personnel.
Stokes was “promoted” to fill Smith’s role. But he was severely layered underneath Mayhew, Hurney, and Ron Rivera, who still kept a hand in personnel decisions.
The results have been undeniable. Falling off a cliff comes to mind.
Stokes has 20 years of scouting and player personnel experience. Until the last few years, had a very good reputation. He’ll get another job, but he has been tainted by his time in Washington.
I can’t say with any certainty whether or not Stokes deserves the criticism he will get. Perhaps he does. I just know he used to do a good job, and now it doesn’t appear that he does.
And it may have little to do with his ability.