Packers Deep Dive - Third Round Pick Josiah Deguara

At pick 94 the Green Bay Packers selected H-back Josiah Deguara. Here is what he brings to this Packers' offense and how he fits in. 

Whether it be fans, draft analysts, or sports talk show hosts, the NFL Draft for the Green Bay Packers didn't go as anyone outside of the organization had expected. Like at all. In Round 1 they would select quarterback Jordan Love to be Aaron Rodgers' eventual successor. Then in Round 2, they would select running back A.J. Dillon. And to cap it off, with pick 94 they would select Josiah Deguara of Cincinnati who was listed as a tight end but will be an H-back with the Packers. 

That's right, in the year 2020, the Packers spent a top-100 draft pick on an H-back. Upon this selection, of Green Bay's first three draft picks, Deguara was the most head-scratching move. With needs at receiver, offensive tackle, and defensive tackle, Green Bay passed those needs up for a player that many said could have been taken later on. 

However since then, everyone has had time to digest the selection, do some homework, and listen to Matt LaFleur on his post-draft conference call. Now the pick doesn't seem so wild as in LaFleur's offense, Deguara has the chance to be an X-factor. But before we take a look at his fit with the Packers, let's get to know the player. 

During Deguara's first two seasons at Cincinnati, he would appear in a few games here and there but it wasn't until his junior year in 2018 that he became a full-time starter.

That season Deguara would record 468 receiving yards at 12.3 yards per catch with five touchdowns. Then just this past season he would see marginal improvements when it came to the stat sheet with 504 receiving yards at 12.9 yards per catch along with seven touchdown receptions, but this time he was a First Team All-American Athletic Conference selection. While his numbers certainly aren't eye-popping, it's his skill-set that made him a top target of LaFleur's. 

Deguara has shown that he is a willing blocker and a fairly good one at that, especially on run plays. When it comes to the passing game, he has reliable hands and he is a well-polished route runner as well. With his ability to function both as a blocker and as a pass-catcher, he is the type of player that LaFleur covets.

On top of that, Deguara can be lined up in the backfield, inline, or in the slot which is going to help disguise what the Packers' offense is doing while also creating mismatches for both him and his teammates. 

For a little more insight into Deguara's game, here is Lance Zierlein's final scouting report prior to the draft: 

"Hard-nosed move tight end who will garner consideration as an NFL H-back. He's a gritty blocker who plays with good positioning and works hard at sustaining blocks to help his run game. As a pass catcher, Deguara is sure-handed with good feel for soft spots against zone, but may need an accurate thrower due to contested catch likelihood and suspect catch radius. He's the type of Day 3 prospect who flies under the radar, but ends up being a solid contributor at H-back."

Looking back at LaFleur's first season in Green Bay, the offensive playbook was a mashup of what he likes to run along with what Mike McCarthy had established over the years. But if one thing was made clear during the draft, it is that moving forward this is a Packers team that will be focusing more on the run.

With that said, they still do have Aaron Rodgers so don't expect them to turn into the Tennessee Titans by any means, but LaFleur is an extension of the Mike Shanahan coaching tree where the run game oftentimes dictates what the offense is going to do. And in order to do that successfully, he of course, needs the right personnel. 

After the draft, LaFleur had mentioned that Deguara's role in Green Bay will be similar to that of Kyle Juszczyk's out in San Francisco. Juszczyk is a do-it-all type of player for the 49ers who wears a number of different hats and transitions from one role to the next effortlessly. He is the secret weapon within that San Francisco offense and has been referred to by Kyle Shanahan as irreplaceable. 

In an interview with Green Bay Packers' media members prior to their Week 12 matchup in 2019, Shanahan discussed how just Juszczyk's presence on the field gives the 49ers' offense the upper hand:

"When you have a fullback in there, the defense knows there are certain blitzes and certain things they can't do because you're going to be able to block it all up. If you have a fullback in, no matter what they do, you have a chance to run the ball, or at least the threat of it. So it changes some looks and allows you to call whatever you want if you really want to do that regardless of what the defense is doing."

Now, should our expectations be that Deguara is going to be as good as Juszczyk? Probably not. Or at least not for the time being. With that said, if he can fill that same role admirably in the Green Bay offense, his diverse skill-set will give the Packers some unpredictability which will make life easier for everyone around him. Especially, Aaron Rodgers. 

Since the draft has ended much has been made about the value of selecting Deguara where the Packers did. However, that really is a subjective term. To the draft analysts and many football talking heads, the fullback/H-back is a dying breed. But ask Kyle Shanahan or Matt LaFleur what they think of the position and you'll get an entirely different response. It is a requirement for their offenses. 

Believe it or not, Brian Gutekunst and LaFleur have a vision for this offense, and for it to be as successful as it can be, LaFleur needs Josiah Deguara and his skill-set in it. 

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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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10 points

Comments (27)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
jeremyjjbrown's picture

April 28, 2020 at 03:48 pm

If they are going to do the whole "move TE" thing then what confuses me isn't why they drafted Deguara, but why they only got 1 guy of this type. I would have liked to even see a UDFA with similar (but obviously less qualified) skills to possibly keep on the practice squad. If they do start doing these things like the 9ers do with Juszczyk and Deguara gets dinged that could cause a big problem if that had to stop using the concepts entirely.

Maybe the reason that they haven't is these guys are hard to find. Which also explains the apparent reach?

Either way it's been an interesting thought transition for me from "WTH did they draft him for", too "Oh they want to do this Move TE stuff", too "Wait why did they one get 1 of him?"

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Dzehren's picture

April 28, 2020 at 04:11 pm

GB signed UDFA Jordan Jones(TE/FB) out of Prairie View A&M.

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dobber's picture

April 28, 2020 at 04:38 pm

This is, in part, what they did with Sternberger last fall...the gave him the snaps you would've expected to be Vitale's and lined him up in the backfield, in-line, and split him out. IT could be that they decided it just wasn't Sternberger's thing.

3 points
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jeremyjjbrown's picture

April 28, 2020 at 08:15 pm

Cool, I missed that one.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 29, 2020 at 04:33 am

Or perhaps part just not Sternberger's thing, but also they want to flex Jace out more often (which he tweeted) with Graham gone and also play him inline more.

Not that I don't think Deguara was an awful pick, I do. But one has to be moderately reasonable and try to see what LaFleur sees.

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4zone's picture

April 28, 2020 at 03:45 pm

Also, don't forget we didn't have a 4th round pick so this means he likely would have been gone by our next pick, unless we gave a few more picks away to get back into the 4th round.

This was a strange draft unlike any I've seen us have before. Almost like we drafted specific skill sets instead of specific positions, and guys who are probably going to be MLFs core of the future. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a similar drat next year too.

3 points
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Minniman's picture

April 29, 2020 at 03:45 am

Early indications from these scouting reports are that for those that thought MLF was “MM-lite” last season, that will not be the case this season.

I’m not sure if I’m rooting more for the Packers next season just because I’m a 1-eyed fan or the opportunity to stick it up the “draft Illuminati” and nay-sayers.

Also, perhaps a correction for you Paul - I’d say that it’s a truer statement that instead of Love ‘inheriting the starting role’, he’s going to have to earn it - Rodgers isn’t just going to give it to him and the Packers FO would be nuts not giving that kid at least a 2 year job interview against a HOF-er in waiting.

1 points
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stockholder's picture

April 28, 2020 at 03:49 pm

I'm not on board with this pick all. Not only was it a reach. There just isn't room for roll players. Especially after taking a qB and Rb. Defense wins championships. And if a Roll player is what we Need. How about a Desmond Howard first. So now Gutey wants us to have faith in his Wrs. The Draft experience sure was a Lack of communication! What we need is honest answers! Wheres the silver lining here? I just don't see it.

-12 points
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Bure9620's picture

April 28, 2020 at 04:38 pm

A very wise coach said to me "if we are the best blocking team and the best tackling team we are going to have a chance to win"

Frankly it's what SF did so well last year as so many are obsessed with them. They block really well and they find guys on d whom are really hard to block. Even if Deguara does not even catch a single pass, if he can pass block and keep Rodgers clean and run block for this new scheme he is completely worth a 3rd round pick. It is one extra block the defense needs to beat and it does make a defensive coordinator a bit more hesitant to blitz as he has to leave corners on an island. If Deguara cannot block or get open, well then that would be an issue......frankly, we have had worse busts at this spot or higher, Montravius Adams, Burks (so far) he needs a huge jump this year, Josh Jaskson, Quentin Rollins, Jason Spriggs, Derek Sherrod, Datone Jones, Justin Harrel, Nick Perry These were massive misses.....and many said they were great picks!

Of all the Hot Take pundits the last few days saying "Rodgers has zero help!" I have not heard any talk about how clean he was kept last year. If you can't block, you can't run offense. It starts with protection....yet everyone freaks weapons! Weapons!! Weapons!!! Brady won a SB with Gronk on IR, Edelman and bunch of UDFAs. He had blocking and a run game. For a Veteran QB, you emphasize protection, and he can make it work with Adams, Lazard, Funchess, Deguara, Sternberger, MVS, EQ Lewis and Tonyan.

4 points
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Michigan Hoosier's picture

April 29, 2020 at 11:58 am

"Defense wins championships" Sorry I think this was true but I believe all the rule changes favoring the offense has changed the game....KC won because of their offense not their defense.

4 points
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Duneslick's picture

April 28, 2020 at 04:04 pm

You can rationalise and make excuses all you want but he was taken at least 3 rounds too early and we had many more PRESSING needs

-4 points
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taarons420's picture

April 28, 2020 at 04:10 pm

Maybe they felt a starting HB is more important than a 4th WR or a 3rd iDL..

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Bure9620's picture

April 28, 2020 at 04:39 pm

That is their offense...12 personnel has 2 WRs....

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Bure9620's picture

April 28, 2020 at 04:24 pm

Needs that can be met by rookies?

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taarons420's picture

April 28, 2020 at 04:13 pm

LaFleur is going to make Deguara a star.
I think A LOT of people are going to be surprised by what this guy becomes.
Watch him play.
Effort.
Talent.
Leadership.
Attitude.
Confidence.
You can tell just by watching him.

6 points
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wildbill's picture

April 28, 2020 at 04:23 pm

Although I was not happy where he was picked, this was a pick I liked. He brings a versatile skill set and isn’t afraid to stick it to someone. Looks to have good hands and a good attitude.

2 points
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Chevy572rat's picture

April 28, 2020 at 06:32 pm

I agree Wildbill. IMO he's going to do some of the things that Sternberger was doing at the end of last season and allow Sternberger to become more of the receiving TE that is his strong point. Having those two on the field together could definitely cause problems for opposing defenses. Remember, we haven't really seen MLFs true offense yet and I think this was a player he wanted to expand the playbook. GO PACK !!

2 points
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murf7777's picture

April 28, 2020 at 04:34 pm

Yes I would’ve liked them to move up in the 5th or later part of the 4th round to take him. He probably wasn’t going to be taken till the 5th round.

That said I’m really happy that Gutey and our head coach are on the same page of the type of team they want to have, synergy is important with those two positions.

-2 points
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blacke00's picture

April 28, 2020 at 04:42 pm

Stop already with the WR Bullshit!

This is really getting tiring. For umpteenth time, unless you we going to draft one of the very WR. It was very unlikely you were going to get a guy that would contribute a lot in his rookie year. Rookie WR just have a significant learning curve and ir just take time for them to learn it. Drafting anyone else was going to be no better than what you already have in your stable. Get over it for Christ sake!

That being said if you want o bitch about not drafting someone to help with the rush defense, I can get that.

The Packers are delusional if they think their rush defense is going to be much better than last year. But we've seen this before with Thompson. So hope for the best.

I do like drafting OL as the Packer depth in the OL has been crap for years and that has to change hopefully at least on of these guys sticks.

I've said this before and I'll say it again. Drafting a quality QB is not a bad idea. Not just for future consideration, but really as a backup. We lost a whole season for want of a quality backup QB. Don't BS me with the finding a veteran. They are few and far between and some will cost you almost as much as your starter.

Really what do you expect when you're drafting 30th out of 32?

9 points
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Dzehren's picture

April 28, 2020 at 07:38 pm

This coupled with the fact that about 13 receivers were taken prior to GB's pick 62. When GUTE traded that 4th round pick for Love, I thought that would be used to trade up to around pick 50 to grab a WR. Mims getting picked at 57 was a slap in the face. Picking at the end of every round has challanges no one is talking about. Pick 62 is a "2nd rd pick". Pick 66 is a "3rd rd pick" etc.

1 points
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Since'61's picture

April 28, 2020 at 04:47 pm

I don’t have a problem with Deguara but I still don’t get the order of the picks. Gute said they are transitioning to a run first offense. Ok, then wouldn’t we start by taking OLs in the early rounds plus a WR to pose a deep threat and take some double teams off Adams.

It seems to me we should have taken an OL or WR first. Then another OL or WR if we didn’t take one in the first. In the third I would have taken our 2nd OL of the draft. Then Dillon, then Deguara, etc.

To run the ball you need an effective OL before anything else. The better OLs are found in the early rounds not in rounds 5, 6 and 7.
I do believe that Runyon is a solid pick but I’m not sure about the other 2 OLs. It just seems to me that based on what Gute said post-draft they would have picked OLs in the early rounds and RB and H-back in the middle rounds. That would give Gute’s comments more credibility to me anyway.

As for Deguara, I think that he can be a solid player in MLFs offense but he may not be ready to fully contribute until 2021.
Everyone stay well. Thanks, Since ‘61

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murf7777's picture

April 28, 2020 at 05:22 pm

61, I think Deguara will contribute, especially in the FB role, but not to the full potential until 2021. Blocking, screens and dump offs I suspect in 2020.

2 points
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Leatherhead's picture

April 28, 2020 at 08:21 pm

We have a starting offensive line....and backups...under contract. We were 5th in run blocking last year, according to football outsiders. Any lineman we took at 30 would have been a backup unless you just want to eat a big contract.

Turner and Wagner in FA. Madison and Jenkins in the draft. Bakhtiari and Linsley under contract. The linemen we took on the last day are headed to the practice squad.

We like double teams on Adams because that’s one less run defender in the box. Add Lewis in FA, add Deguara and that is two good blockers. Add a pile driver like Dillon and teams Can’t double Adams because they’re gonna need all hands on deck to stop Dillon and Jones

3 points
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Since'61's picture

April 28, 2020 at 10:00 pm

I’m fine with Bakh and Jenkins. However I’m concerned with the right side of the OL. Turner was at best adequate last season at RG and Wagner is a question mark and is not likely to play at Bulaga’s level at RT. I realize he comes at a lower price but you get what you pay for.

As for Linsley, he has been solid but we have also seem him pushed around. Plus he doesn’t get much of a push in short yardage situations.

Whoever ranked our OL 5th in run blocking must not have taken into account our poor results on short yardage situations. We did not run very well on 2nd downs either, leaving us with too many 3rd and longs and a poor 3rd down conversion rate.

I believe that if you going to go run heavy you need an OL that makes all our RBs look good. Like SFs OL or Dallas’ OL in the early 90s or Lombardi’s OL in the 60s. Last season Jones usually looked good but Williams not so much. Is that on Williams or the OL? Probably some of both.

Lombardi’s OL made Hornung, Taylor, Pitts, Anderson, Grabowski, Travis Williams and even throw away backs Chuck Mercein and Ben Wilson look good in Championship games.

Our OL is pretty good but are they good enough for a run first team? I guess we’ll find out. Thanks, Since ‘61

2 points
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Qoojo's picture

April 28, 2020 at 05:49 pm

I remember the analysts (Kiper) bitching about Henderson getting picked in 3rd round. There's no accountability for the people complaining, meaning if they get it wrong, no one is going to call them on it 2-3 years later. If they get it right however, we get to hear about the couple of right picks for years.

If a person says every pick was the wrong pick, they will be right more often than wrong, because the odds are small finding blue chip or better player.

Too many people lose perspective over what the draft is.

8 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 29, 2020 at 05:26 am

The William Henderson analogy is a stretch. It was a different era. Drafting a FB in the early third round makes more sense in an NFL that selected 5 RBs in the first round, 3 more in the 2nd, 3 more in the 3rd including HOFer Curtis Martin, plus more on day three, including HOFer Terrell Davis in the 6th.

Deguara is the type of player I want on my team. Hard nosed, with tons of hustle. The problem is he lacks talent for a prospect taken at 94. He is a high floor guy, but has a low ceiling. He is never going to play starter type snaps. Even Juszczyk only plays about 40% of snaps with a high one year of 63%. He is good blocking on the move as an H-back, but is more tenacious than good inline. He ain't gonna replace big dog Marcedes as a blocker. He isn't good running routes, so he will leak out, or run crossers or behind the LOS, and is also stiff. Good hands though but can't make adjustments. Zip for after the catch, and is only 6'2" tall. Against the right LBs or as a surprise might be able to run a seam route. He ain't gonna replace Sternberger as a receiving TE. GB played TEs on 1411 snaps (1103 plays), or 1.28 TEs on the field. LaFleur played 12 personnel 41% of the time in TN even though he didn't have the personnel to do it. An increase from 28 to 41% yields 143 additional TE snaps. I assume Sternberger takes over Graham's 638 snaps as he is the only dynamic receiving TE, and Marcedes gets the same 498 snaps he played in 2019, if not more. So perhaps Deguara can play Tonyan's 199 snaps plus the new 143 snaps if MLF increases 12 personnel. Sounds like a best case scenario to me: 21 snaps/game.

LT Lucas Niang was on the board at 94 and was picked by KC at 96. So were ILB Gaithers (101 IIRC) and others. Deguara was an awful pick. Not taking a WR is very questionable. Time for LaFleur to prove these were good decisions.

0 points
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jasonfromcali's picture

April 29, 2020 at 11:29 am

I think Deguara was somewhat of a reach, but could be a nice fit in the offense LaFleur wants to run

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