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Interest continuing to grow between Packers, Sternberger

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Interest continuing to grow between Packers, Sternberger

There seems to be a growing sense of interest in a certain tight end prospect, and the Green Bay Packers are certainly exploring the possibility of drafting him this April.

According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, the Packers' brass has a visit lined up with Texas A&M's Jace Sternberger. They're one of eight teams scheduled to meet with him.

The Packers were also one of several teams who met with Sternberger at the NFL Scouting Combine last month, certainly offering the belief that general manager Brian Gutekunst and co. are intrigued with the 2018 Consensus All-American.

Sternberger played collegiately for the Kansas Jayhawks for his freshman and sophomore seasons, appearing in just two games as a non-factor. He stepped into the junior college scene at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in 2017 with high hopes of being able to showcase his abilities -- and he was right. Sternberger committed to Texas A&M a year later.

He played in13 games for the Aggies, registering 48 catches for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns. Sternberger's stellar production was enough to solidify him as one of the best tight ends in this year's class.

All three of T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant and Irv Smith Jr. are going to end up off the board before him, but Sternberger will present whoever drafts him with the potential of a big body capable of running even the finest of routes.

The Packers aren't exactly bare with their current cupboard of tight ends. They picked up Jimmy Graham's $5 million dollar option prior to the start of the new league year and they retained Marcedes Lewis on a one-year deal. Both veterans are expected to serve a rejuvenated purpose under new head coach Matt LaFleur. Robert Tonyan also presents a promising third option. 

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at jacobsonzach14@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (42) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

stockholder's picture

Yes to Sternberger before Smith.

Otto's picture

I've heard teams are trending that way because of Smith's height and drops.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

TEs rarely set the world on fire as rookies. So by bringing back both Jimmy Graham & the Benz, it is a good situation to take a good one.

Old School's picture

I think Sternberger would be a good choice for us. I think he might even still be available when we pick in the 3rd round.

Rak47's picture

If you take Sternberger you'll get a big WR. The kid is as bad or worse than Jimmy Graham when it comes to blocking. He can play, but he most likely will never be as good as Graham at his peak. This interest doesn't make sense to me unless they want Jimmy Graham light as their future at TE. If Hock or Fant don't fall to them they will be much better of with Kahale Warring, or Josh Oliver imho. Both have big upside, personally I hope the Packers draft Warring if they can't get Hock or Fant.

Old School's picture

That's probably why he's a 3rd round prospect instead of a 1st rounder.

It has been my experience that if a guy has the size, you can improve his blocking ability more easily than you can improve his receiving ability.

Rak47's picture

How'd that work for Graham? Btw, Warring is bigger, faster, stronger and a much much better blocker than Sternberger. I don't believe for one second the Packers are letting be known who they're are really interested in. This is purely a smokescreen. I tried to post a link on Warring's scouting reports but CHTV won't let me. You can look him up on the draft network though, under prospect rankings, then just click his name and it will bring up the scouting report. There's actually 3 different scouting reports on that page just click the name at the top for each. I think you'll like him a lot.

Old School's picture

How'd that work for Graham? Well enough for him to have a HOF career.

Tell me, please, that the top TEs in the league are in there for their blocking. They aren't. You and I both know that.

Jermichael Finley couldn't block his own shadow and people hold him as the standard.

Rak47's picture

Your standards are just too low. The top TE's of my generation and over the past 40 years could block and catch. Tony Gonzalez, Mark Bavaro, Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten, Antonio Gates, Kellen Winslow Sr, the best of the best were all dual threat receivers and blockers, not just big WR's labeled TE on the depth chart. Graham is and always has been a wr and has asked to be paid as such in his contract negotiations. Packers need a TE that can block and catch not just catch. They have plenty big enough wr's who can do that.

Old School's picture

Yes, my standards are too low. A perennial Pro Bowler, or HOFer, like Jimmy Graham, isn't good enough. ONLY a GOAT candidate is good enough.

Rak47's picture

"How'd that work for Graham? Well enough for him to have a HOF career."
Are you implying his blocking is why he's has a good chance at the HOF? Please tell me how so. In reality if he doesn't get into the HOF or at least not anytime soon after retirement it will be because of his blocking or lack thereof to put it better.

Old School's picture

No, I'm implying that regardless of what you think of his blocking he's had a HOF career.

Rak47's picture

Seeing as how that wasn't the topic of discussion or even questioned what's the point? Try to stay on topic.

Rak47's picture

Here also are the comparative RAS scores for Warring and Sternberger
TE Kahale Warring San Diego State 2019COMBINE 9.39
TE Jace Sternberger Texas A&M 2019COMBINE 5.17

The TKstinator's picture

Chmura!
230 lb receiving tight end as a rookie.
Lived in the weight room.
250 lb good blocker AND receiver a year or two later. Only minus after that point was speed. Seems like a reasonable way to go at tight end.

meatstyk's picture

I like it

sam1's picture

It seems this Hock is wanting by fans in GB but Packers seem to have no interest to speak of!

tundrawalker00's picture

Jace Sternberger or Jake Stoneburner?

chaka's picture

They should reach out to Colt Lyerla and see if he is interested.

4thand1's picture

You must be drinking lots of Colt 45.

BradHTX's picture

Umm, you know he’s in jail for heroin possession, right? Dude has more arrests since leaving the Packers than Latroy Guion and Johnny Jolly combined.

MarkinMadison's picture

Not strong enough to effectively block or to shuck defenders. Not fast enough to outrun them. If the Packers really have a 4.7 threshold in the 40 for TEs then he doesn't make the cut. And really, not fast at all for a light/medium weight TE. I'm not sure what the fascination is for the Packers.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Mark,
If I recall right from the Combine Hock runs in the 4.7's as well.

Fant runs 4.5 in 40.

MarkinMadison's picture

That's part of why I've been pulling for Fant. I don't know that Hock really has the speed to be a difference maker at the next level. Those who love Hock point to his route running (similar to Sternberger) and his devastating blocks.

FWIW Hock was a 4.7 flat, Sternberger was a 4.75. Hock similarly edges him out in other speed categories. Really, the two are pretty similar in terms of measurables. Sternberger actually beats Hock in terms of production on the year. If I'm the Packers, and I want to address other positions in the first
couple of rounds, sure I'm looking at Sternberger.

I'd take Fant. I'd probably trade up from #30 or back from #12 to do it.

Guam's picture

Lots of posters advocating for Fant/Hock at #12 and an OL at #30. Why would we want our top two draft choices in positions where they won't see the field much in their rookie year? We have two veteran TE's in Graham and Lewis and with the Turner signing a solid starting five in place on the O-line. Yes, we should be looking for replacements for Graham and Bulaga, but you can pick developmental players in the third and fourth rounds this year for that purpose.

I would rather see our first three draft choices devoted to positions where the players have a chance to start. Safety, ILB and D-line come to mind first.

Old School's picture

You make sense, Guam, and that's going to get you downvotes here.

Guam's picture

I don't mind down votes Old School. As long as the dialogue is respectful and reasoned, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Bear's picture

Don’t get to excited about Turner.

Guam's picture

Turner is unproven with the Packers and I most certainly am not in love with our back up interior linemen. I very much hope the Packers spend at least two mid-round draft choices on interior O-linemen so we can create some depth and competition there. I just struggle with a first round draft choice for an O-lineman that very likely will not see much playing time when we have other serious needs.

ILPackerBacker's picture

Because your basic assumptions are entirely wrong.

We will see more snaps for the TE position and less for WRs.

Fant/Hock are not going to waste a year developing. Teddie tried the 4th and lower draft and develop, how did it work out?

Guam's picture

Even with more snaps, you still have two vets competing for playing time with a rookie so I don't believe my assumptions are "entirely wrong". I actually had third round or later in mind when I said mid-round draft choices and as others have enumerated, there have been lots of great TE's chosen in the third round or later. A developmental TE in the third or fourth round I still believe is a better option than Hock or Fant at #12 just because of what other players will be available at #12.

Old School's picture

Graham is going to be our starting TE. Lewis is going to be the designated blocker in the double TE set. Guam is correct when he points out that it doesn't make real good sense to spend out highest draft picks on guys who won't be on the field as much.

Meanwhile, we still have no safety opposite of Amos, and no ILB opposite of Martinez. I agree with Guam that it makes more sense to spend our highest draft picks on places where we need a guy to line up immediately.

Old School's picture

Why don't you ask Mike Daniels, Dean Lowry, Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, and David Bakhtiari?

DD's picture

Patience and our failed scout teams. TE? who knows....maybes.

Ryan B Dub's picture

How is Jimmy Graham viewed as a tight end? He doesn’t block. He no longer has the assets that made people excited to see him as a receiver. At least Mercedes Lewis can block. Packers need tight ends that can block. Jimmy needs to be used if he can run and catch. That’s money they wish they could have back.

Slim11's picture

I am curious about Sternberger for a couple of reasons.

First, as stated in the article, he played two years at Kansas, then transferred to a junior college. Then he was a JC-transfer to Texas A&M. What were his numbers in the JC season?

Second, his numbers from his single season at TXA&M might be misleading...for the better. His QB at TXA&M was Kellen Mond. Mond was a freshman starter and wasn’t real good. His sophomore year was better but I don’t think he played lights out. Sternberger’s numbers might be better with a more accomplished QB.

This is why I am curious about Sternberger.

ILPackerBacker's picture

There are many great articles, some that set out to prove Graham is bad in the run game but that all factually show his positive impact on the running game.

With Graham at TE the packers are, if I recall correctly averaging....AVERAGING..... a half a yard better per rush than when he is not in the game

+ half a yard per attempt.

Why? Well as some fool posted here his best block of the year was not a block at all but one defenders vacated the lane to follow Graham in coverage and another shifted further outside.

All year defenses adjusted and allowed other things to stop Graham. It is all on tape, or video if you are a new age trender person. Just look.

Results matter not the process especially when those to lazy to look are commenting on process

Guam's picture

Like you ILPB, I think Graham is a decent TE who will be good in MLF's offense. I also like Lewis's blocking skills a lot. Because of those two veteran TE's, I just don't see TE as a position of great need this year. If you believe Hock or Fant are generational TE's, then you draft them at #12, but I just don't see it. As stated above, I think we need a developmental TE this year and should spend #12 on a more pressing need.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

What is the source you're citing?

ILPackerBacker's picture

Last year snap counts, recall that a lot of the TE snaps were in the backfield as a fullback and not as a TE.

TE...... 1368 going up
WR.... 2925 going down
RB. 1085

OL and why a high draft choice could play. In regard to the top 2 there is nobody close to being able to play at the same level currently on the team and losing either is disaster

CL 1074
DB 1031

Need lots of improvement but can be covered up...if the coach is smart enough

Lane T 881
Bulaga 781
Bell 527
McC 480
Spriggs 291
Lucas P 278
light 26

Guam's picture

Starting with the O-line first. Yes losing either of our top 2 O-linemen would be a disaster, but so would losing Adams, Graham, Clarke, Daniels, Martinez, Alexander or Amos. You can make that argument about almost any position on the team. I subscribe to idea that we need to draft O-linemen, just not in the first round. The Packers have been highly successful getting quality O-linemen from the fourth round and I would like the Pack to add at least two rookie O-linemen to their current mix. I just don't see the need for a first round draft choice when we have a starting five that is set. Note also that O-linemen don't typically rotate like D-linemen so the first rounder will likely play little baring injury.

In terms of snaps for TE's, how many more snaps would you envision? McCarthy often played (mis-used?) several TE's between TE, FB and flanking Graham out like a WR, so how many more snaps will MLF's offense have for a TE. I believe it would have to be a lot to justify a #12 pick at TE.

PAPackerbacker's picture

Hockenson or Fant before Sternberger for sure. And with Graham, Lewis , and Tonyon why pick a second TE from the draft this year? Fill the need elsewhere at OL or safety or LB.

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