Give Josiah Deguara Time

Josiah Deguara will play an important role in the Packers' offense, but with many responsibilities to learn and in an unusual offseason, give the rookie some time. 

Just like the two picks before him, the Green Bay Packers' selection of Josiah Deguara in the third-round was scrutinized heavily by both fans and members of the national media. I mean, in today's NFL the Packers took an H-back in the top-100?
 
Yes, they certainly did. While the value of the position around the league isn't very high, the H-back plays an important role in the Matt LaFleur offense, as well as Kyle Shanahan's out in San Francisco. 
 
For the Niners, Kyle Juszczyk wears many hats as he jumps from one role to the next with ease. This creates mismatches for both him and his teammates while giving the 49er offense some unpredictability. And that is exactly what LaFleur is hoping to achieve with Deguara. 
 
As a tight end in college, Deguara had shown that he is a reliable pass-catcher, a superb blocker, especially against the run, and someone who can line up all over the formation. However, when you're filling the roles of a fullback, tight end, and a receiver, that is a lot of responsibilities for a young player, and the learning curve is quite steep. 
 
Deguara will have to learn blocking schemes like an offensive lineman, the intricacies of route running like a receiver, as well as blocking assignments out of the backfield. Although he won't be a true tight end, he will assume that role often, and as we've seen in the past, rookie tight ends rarely produce during that first season.
 
In an article by Jamison Hensley of ESPN, he mentions that since 2003, only two rookie tight ends have had over 600 receiving yards during that first season. And a big contributor to this lack of production is due to the difficulty of the position for young players. 
 
So with all of the responsibilities that Deguara has to master, along with an extremely unusual offseason, from a pure production standpoint, expectations should be tempered, at least early on. 
 
As illustrated above, the jump from college to the NFL is always a difficult transition. But with no OTAs, mini-camps, or preseason games, not to mention less time in the building, Deguara is facing an even more difficult challenge than most. 
 
Now, I'm not suggesting that Deguara won't see playing time, but when it comes to the full scope of his responsibilities, he is going to be eased in, and likely his stats won't be eye-popping. And if that is the case, this isn't an opportunity to pile on, or validation for some that this was a bad draft pick. Rather it is a young player, at a challenging position, in even more unusual times. 
 
So I've said all of that to say this; give Josiah Deguara time. 
 
He plays an important position within the LaFleur offense, and in the coming years, his development is going to be one of the major keys to this offense's success. 
 
It's also worth mentioning that given the nature of the H-back position, even when Deguara is fully immersed in the offense, he might not have an eye-popping stat sheet. But that doesn't mean he isn't making an impact. Once again, look at Juszczyk in San Francisco; more times than not, his stat sheet doesn't stand out, but he has still been referred to as a secret weapon within that offense.
 
In today's world, instant gratification is King, but that just isn't how everything works. So when it comes to Josiah Deguara, don't be shocked if he starts off slowly. The H-back is a difficult position for any player, let alone a rookie who has had to miss practice time, preseason games, and in-person meetings.   
 
The results will happen, just be patient and remember that Deguara will play a significant role in this Packers' offense for years to come.  

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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Comments (12)

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Bure9620's picture

August 10, 2020 at 02:26 pm

If he can block, yes absolutely give him time. There is always a role for a solid willing blocker. I certainly do not expect Deguara to be a do it all dynamic H-back as a rookie. But if he can block from the FB or inline positions, similar to Sternberger last year? Get him in there.

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Archie's picture

August 10, 2020 at 02:30 pm

I agree. Although RBs acclimate faster than other positions. As an H-Back his running and blocking may show up in his rookie year but his receiving, other than simple underneath routes, not likely to show up till years 2 & 3. Since he is only true H-Back we have, he may become a big piece of our running attack sooner rather than later. But yes, he has a lot on his plate and we shouldn't expect too much too soon. Of course, he is surpasses expectations right away, we will all be thrilled.

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dobber's picture

August 10, 2020 at 03:59 pm

I agree, they typically do, but Deguara wasn't a RB in college. He was a TE. He has one (1) carry from scrimmage to his credit over 4 years. I'm with you in that I think his primary impact in 2020 (if they play) will likely be as a blocker, but he'll have a whole new skill set to pick up if they want to hand him the football, ask him to read blocks, and gain positive yardage.

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Archie's picture

August 10, 2020 at 06:05 pm

"Outside of the QB, an H-Back probably has to know the most about the offense.” Cincinnati isn't Harvard so it may take him a little longer than KJ to get to full speed.

But you are right dobber, Kyle Jurzczyk does not run the ball much - less than 100 rushing yards gained in 7 year career. Josiah Deguara will be one of the keys to the Pack rushing (as a blocker) and passing attack going forward under LaFleur. You can do a lot with Jones, Dillon, DeGuara, Adams and Lazard on the field at the same time. LaFleur may give Rodgers exactly what Shanahan gave Elway in his twilight years. Love is injury insurance while he learns. I've got to admit I like our draft a lot more today than on draft day but maybe I feel that way every year. :)

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Stroh's picture

August 10, 2020 at 06:57 pm

Blocking is the reason TE struggle when they get into the NFL. I like the pick but he has alot on his plate. Even asking him to be just a good blocker as a rookie mightbe asking too much.

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CoachDino's picture

August 10, 2020 at 02:39 pm

Wow, I;m becoming a fan of yours. I was just being my usual critical self in that Josiah/HB position isn't a stats position but, is so critical to the offense and bam you were already on it.

So many of the Packers picks are scheme specific and not stat or "traditional" personnel moves. There's a learning curve for us fans and writers to catch up with when Coordinators/GMs are continuously evolving. Just when we think we can rely on the latest buzzwords and key phrases the game changes and the afore mentioned carries less meaning.

It is the articles that I have seen you put out that go beyond the front lines of common perception into so real nuance that I appreciate. Keep up the good work...

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13TimeChamps's picture

August 10, 2020 at 06:02 pm

“Pop on Josiah Deguara’s tape and you will immediately appreciate his competitive toughness. Whether it’s exchanging power in the trenches, competing with the ball in his hands, trailing plays as they elongate down the field to hit a block or busting his ass to tackle an intercepting defender, he brings the juice.”

Sounds like a football player to me.

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jannes bjornson's picture

August 10, 2020 at 11:45 pm

He'll have his looks as the season moves along. He's a player.

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Stroh's picture

August 10, 2020 at 06:47 pm

Wolf once took a little used FB in the 3rd rd. William Henderson worked out very well. I see no reason Deguara will be any different. He'll probably be be more productive statstically than Henderson for you fantasy geeks.

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nostradanus's picture

August 10, 2020 at 07:31 pm

And he should be great on special teams which is underrated

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ReaganRulz's picture

August 11, 2020 at 07:52 am

This will probably hold true for the majority of rookies this year. There will be a few that are talented enough to contribute to their teams, but most will take this as a true learning year. Year 2 should be interesting for this most recent draft class.

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CoachDino's picture

August 11, 2020 at 05:45 pm

The issue / value in Josiah / H-Back position isn't always rushing yards or rec yards as much as they are "viable options" to pass, rush or rec. Hence need to be accounted for as well as increase options, out of formations, giving an improved probability of a defensive lapse.
Scheming players open!!! Something McCarthy never did and why you don't need superstar receivers to still be effective. Compare an H-Back Salary to a Big Time #2 Rec. This offense is less expensive as well. That's Huge in the Salary Cap era.

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