The Green Bay Packers are set for tight ends going into next season. Set? No, they are stacked.
Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Jace Sternberger, and Josiah Deguara make for an impressive group of players. They are not just solid run blockers and red-zone threats, and they are vital to Matt LaFleur’s offense.
Deguara is a player to watch this season. The former University of Cincinnati player was drafted in the third round last year. Will the second-year player make a giant step forward this year, or will he be lost in the shuffle of a deep position group? There are plenty of storylines that can play out this year, and it’s hard to know what to expect because his rookie season was limited.
2020 Season Cut Short
Tonyan was definitely the tight end superstar last season. He ended with 11 touchdowns, 52 receptions, and almost 600 yards. Turns out, training with George Kittle in the off-season really pays off. It also turns out Aaron Rodgers was right all along wanting a Tonyan as TE1 on the depth chart.
Deguara was on his way to a strong rookie season last year before the injury bug got him. He caught his first NFL pass for 13 yards in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, that would be his only catch of the season. He tore his ACL in Week 5 and was put on injured reserve.
He only caught one pass, but his blocking presence and ability to help make plays upfield was noticed right away.
He showed real flashes of being an impact player. He’s not afraid to get involved, hit hard, and help his offense even when he isn’t catching the ball. That is all you can ask for when it comes to being a good tight end.
As long as he is healthy and set to go for next season, Deguara should be able to compete with Sternberger for that third tight end spot. Sternberger has had some great moments on the field for the green and gold, but he seems to get hurt too often.
After no regular-season catches during his rookie year in 2019, he had an impressive performance in the NFC Championship game. He played in 12 games last season and ended his second year with only 12 receptions, 114 yards, and one score. It wasn’t the step most expected him to take, but it was hard to compete with Tonyan and Lewis.
Watching Deguara and Sternberger might be one of the most fun position battles in training camp this upcoming season. It will also be interesting to see which wide receivers end up making the roster. Okay, so quarterback might still have some questions. Running back should be set. Also, who will end up starting on the offensive line? In reality, the entire offense will be fun to watch this summer and in the preseason.
Deguara will be a big part of that. A third-round pick comes with some expectations. Another year with LaFleur’s offense, learning from Tonyan and Lewis, and hopefully, a fully healthy season should really help with his development. No one is looking at the young tight end to be the best player on the team, but the next step forward should happen.
Tonyan may only be with Green Bay one more year, and Lewis isn’t getting any younger. He signed a two-year deal with the Packers, but nothing is guaranteed in the NFL. Every fan hopes he continues to play at the same level for another five years, but Deguara will need to be prepared to take his place if anything happens.
His first few games had glimpses of that, so the hope is that the trend continues upward. Deguara’s expectations for this next year will probably be securing the third tight end spot, being a major blocking tight end, and nabbing around 10-15 receptions with a few scores. If not, there might be concerns that the team may have reached with their third-round pick. But if and when he succeeds, Deguara would join a long list of Packers that people have been wrong to doubt.