One of the hottest names on several NFL teams’ draft boards is Cincinnati’s Josiah Deguara.
The New England Patriots are one of a bushel of teams seemingly interested in drafting the TE/H-Back prospect. The team met with the 23-year-old at the Combine and also conducted a virtual interview more recently, per SB Nation’s Justin Melo.
Deguara stands 6’2″ and weighs 242 pounds and has the kind of dual-position skills that players like recently released Super Bowl champion Trey Burton possess. The ideal player for this role has the run-blocking talent of a fullback, but the receiving skills of a tight end. Deguara seems to fit that mold well.
Lance Zierlein on Burton
- Height: 6’2″
- Weight: 224
- 40-Time: 4.62
- Arm Length: 31″
- Hands: 9 3/8″
A savvy, athletic, undersized H-back who was utilized in a flexed receiving role in the Gators’ offense. Has the athletic traits to earn a living working detached out of the slot as an ‘F’ tight end. Can offer a creative offensive coordinator a versatile jack-of-all-trades gimmick weapon.
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Lance Zierlein on Deguara
- Height: 6’2″
- Weight: 242
- 40-Time: 4.72
- Arm Length: 31 5’8″
- Hands: 9″
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 becoming a solid contributor at H-back.
Burton battled injuries in 2019 which is what led the Chicago Bears to release him on Friday. However, before his body began to break down, Burton helped the Philadelphia Eagles win a Super Bowl in 2017, and he’d established himself as a valuable weapon in the passing game. He had six touchdown receptions for the Bears in 2018.
Deguara projects similarly and his skill set could be a godsend for a young quarterback like Jarrett Stidham. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler didn’t mention Burton in his player comp. Instead, he tabbed the Patriots’ recently signed fullback Danny Vitale.
In either case, Deguara seems like a fit and a potential Day 3 pick for New England. That seems to be a projection that falls in line with what most draft prognosticators are expecting.
New England needs some help at tight end after the retirement of Ben Watson. As of now, the Patriots have the unproven Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo, which isn’t a duo that inspires a ton of confidence–especially without Tom Brady throwing to them.