Two players out, another one in for the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers placed rookie tight end Josiah Deguara on injured reserve Tuesday afternoon after the third-round draft pick suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 4. They also moved center Jake Hanson, a sixth-round rookie, to the practice-squad IR with an undisclosed injury.
In a corresponding move, the Packers announced the practice-squad signing of wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb, who spent the first three games of the season with the Kansas City Chiefs as a member of their undrafted rookie class. Lipscomb had worked out for the Packers on Oct. 8 during their Week 5 bye.
Ends 1-on-1s with a bang. pic.twitter.com/aXhDO6EoeN
— Steve Frederick (@_SteveFrederick) January 22, 2020
Lipscomb caught 198 passes for 2,356 yards and 22 touchdowns during his four-year career at Vanderbilt and never averaged fewer than 10.5 yards per reception on a season. The 6-foot, 205-pound wideout produced his best season as a junior in 2018 when he hauled in 87 receptions for 916 yards and tallied 10 total touchdowns, rushing for one.
Adding Lipscomb keeps the Packers’ practice squad at capacity, but there are now three spots available on their active roster after Deguara’s move to IR. It is possible that as many as two of those openings could go to rookie linebacker Kamal Martin or wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, who were both recently returned to practice from IR, but each will need to be activated before counting against the 53-man total.
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Lipscomb Known for Route-Running Ability
Lipscomb went undrafted from a 2020 NFL draft class that was touted for its top-level wide receivers, but pre-draft analysts were high on his abilities as a route-runner and his overall football intelligence when making plays. His biggest weaknesses seemed to be the manner in which he used his size and positioning, particularly as a downfield threat.
Here’s how Joe Marino of The Draft Network described Lipscomb:
Vanderbilt wide receiver Kalija Lipscomb is a smart wide receiver with fairly polished route-running skills. He’s experienced running a full route tree and there’s a good bit of deception to the way he executes. His ball skills and hands certainly meet the mark of an NFL receiver. Unfortunately, his modest physical skill set presents some concerns where his lack of athleticism and functional strength limit his projection at the next level. Without any real trump cards in the tool box, Lipscomb is an ordinary talent that profiles as depth in the NFL who will need to excel on special teams.
Packers Crowding Practice Squad With WRs
The Chiefs showed Lipscomb some love when they made him a UDFA signing in April, guaranteeing him $110,000 with a $10,000 signing bonus that suggested he was an asset they didn’t want slipping away. The problem was, once training camp began, he was forced to compete for reps in a deep and seasoned wideout group that included Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mercole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson among its top contributors.
Predictably, Lipscomb was waived at the roster cutdown deadline and quickly re-signed to the Chiefs’ 16-man practice squad, but the receiving room wasn’t any less crowded there with guys like Gehrig Dieter, Jody Fortson and Maurice Ffrench all competing for opportunities in the Chiefs’ explosive offense. He was officially declared the odd man out after the Chiefs’ win over Baltimore in Week 3 and has been looking for a job since.
While Lipscomb lands in Green Bay with another formidable offensive system, his situation hasn’t exactly improved between the Chiefs and Packers. He is once again among four practice-squad receivers with Reggie Begelton, Robert Foster and Juwann Winfree also dotting the Packers’ reserves. The health of the Packers’ primary receiving corps is also improving with Davante Adams and St. Brown both nearing returns from injuries.