Three picks in, the Green Bay Packers have finally acquired a new pass-catcher … but he isn’t a wide receiver.
The Packers selected Cincinnati tight end Josiah Deguara with the No. 94 overall pick in Friday’s third round of the 2020 NFL draft, which offers quarterback Aaron Rodgers another target in an offense that lacked consistent receiving weapons last year.
Deguara worked his way up from a two-star high school prospect to a standout member of the Bearcats offense during his five seasons in Cincinnati. During his final two years, he caught a combined 77 passes for 972 yards and 12 touchdowns while his 92 career receptions set a program record for most-ever by a tight end. Just look at the way he moves …
The Packers have now selected a tight end in the third round in each of the past two drafts after taking former Texas A&M standout Jace Sternberger in 2019. The two third-round picks also figure to be the top candidates for the Packers’ new starting tight end with Jimmy Graham no longer in the picture.
The Packers also have veteran Marcedes Lewis and fourth-year Robert Tonyan — who officially signed his free-agent tender on Friday — vying for playing time in 2020. Lewis was re-signed on a one-year deal this offseason after proving to be a sturdy blocker and adding a valuable leadership presence to the locker room.
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Packers Get Offensive Upgrades, but . . .
The Packers went all-in on offense in their first three rounds as some expected could be the case coming into the draft, but their selections seemed more about solving future problems rather than addressing immediate needs for the 2020 season.
General manager Brian Gutekunst sacrificed the Packers’ first- and fourth-round picks to move up and select a presumptive heir to quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first round, then stayed put in the second round at No. 62 overall and brought in another dynamic running back to compete for playing time with star Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams.
Of the trio, Deguara has the easiest path to becoming a standout player during his rookie season for the Packers with the starting job expected to be a competition. The Packers have been high on Sternberger since seeing him start to grasp the offense in the postseason, but they also explored the possibility of bringing in a free-agent tight end last month when big names — such as Austin Hooper — were still available.
If Deguara can grasp the offense quickly and push Sternberger and Tonyan in training camp later this year, he could emerge as a legitimate contender to be the Packers’ starting tight end, but getting on the same page as LaFleur, Rodgers and the rest of the offense will only be made more difficult with the offseason restrictions forced into place by the coronavirus pandemic.
List of Packers Picks
Round 1 – No. 26 (via trade-up with Miami); QB Jordan Love, Utah State
Round 2 – No. 62; RB A.J. Dillon, Boston College
Round 3 – No. 94; TE Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati
Round 4 –
No. 136 (traded to Miami with Pick No. 30 for No. 26)
Round 5 – No. 175
Round 6 – No. 192 (from Las Vegas Raiders via Trevor Davis trade in 2019)
Round 6 – No. 208 (from Tennessee Titans via Reggie Gilbert trade in 2019)
Round 6 – No. 209
Round 7 – No. 236 (from Cleveland Browns via Justin McCray trade in 2019)
Round 7 – No. 242 (from Baltimore via Ty Montgomery trade in 2018)