Cory's Corner: Josiah Deguara Can Fill A Void

If he knows his role, expect the third-year tight end to be a weapon in an offense that relies on that position. 

Tight end is a position the Packers like to use. 

It’s a position that can get down the field and open things up for speedy receivers on the outside. 

Robert Tonyan tore his ACL on Oct. 28 last season and there’s a decent chance that he could miss some time to start the season. I know reports are saying he will be ready by the season opener and some reports are saying that he will be ready when training camp starts at the end of July, but I think that’s a pipe dream. 

Then there’s Marcedes Lewis. What’s not to love about the Big Dog? But he is 38 and his dynamic ability isn’t what it was a couple years ago. His blocking is still there but I am not sure the Packers can rely on him to get a big catch and run for over six yards for a first down. Lewis had one game last season with four catches — the last time that happened was Dec. 3, 2017. 

So what does that mean? It means that Josiah Deguara will need to fill a void. Deguara was drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the possibility of being an impact player. The stars have aligned for the University of Cincinnati standout that has only started three games in his pro career. 

The Packers don’t need Deguara to be a Pro Bowl tight end. He just has to be reliable and willing to make a play when the offense needs it. And there will be situations this season where the offense will need his talents to move the chains.

This offense is going to be a group effort this year. Green Bay cannot lean on just one or two guys. The biggest factor for the offense is how vital it will be for everyone to know and understand what their role is. Whether that’s making two third down catches a game or running for 120 yards. 

Can Deguara fill a need? Absolutely he can, as long he understands what the need is. He has to know that he will not be a primary weapon but if he proves himself early on, that could lead to an increased role later on when the games matter even more. 

Tight end is a position that the Packers need. With the array of bootlegs and bootleg play-action, the tight end has found a home in this offense. 

Could Deguara be the next in line of solid tight ends to roll through Green Bay? Yes, as long as he knows what his expectations are early on. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (43)

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

May 31, 2022 at 06:31 am

I think the real question is going to be "Who will be the most-fielded 11?"

Going with the "illusion of complexity," MLF will want the most flexible set out there.
With the addition of Christian Watson and Sammie Watkins, two WRs who are excellent blockers, as well as Allan Lazard, I feel like those three are going to be together on the field a lot. That potentially means less snaps for TEs, as I see Dillon and A Jones also on the field a lot.
Since those five are all very flexible, being good weapons as well as good blockers, I think DeGuara and the TEs may play less in this year's offense than they did in recent years.

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stockholder's picture

May 31, 2022 at 06:39 am

Call him a TE all you want. But the size and the hands say otherwise. If there is one position that Gutey can't get right. It's TE! We keep Lewis for his blocking. Tonyan for his Hands. And Deguara isn't either. He can't catch a pass above his his head, unless it's Lobbed. He isn't any faster than a FB. And Cobb would be a better choice in the backfield. So following the guide lines of what a NFL TE should be. DeGuara should be a cut. And if that special play requires his abilities. I'll bet Lazard could fill it better. If not Dillion.

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Packerpasty's picture

May 31, 2022 at 08:26 am

I'm with you on this..he is not that special at anything and I doubt he will emerge as some special weapon...he'll be used occasionally just like he was near the end of last season....a rather average player..

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 31, 2022 at 09:07 am

Packer,
I don't think anyone who is being honest can say Deguara has been anything special up to this point. Adequate yes but just barely. He had that knee injury but that is behind him. This is year 3 and this is a must show me year for guys like him and Jordan Love. Time to step up and be counted.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

May 31, 2022 at 12:20 pm

This isn't really year three for him given his rookie season was a wash. TE is one of the most complicated positions to learn, so yes, he should certainly show improvement. No one was expecting him to be "special" at this point in his career, so that's no mark against him.

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Oppy's picture

May 31, 2022 at 08:55 am

Literally since the day he was drafted, MLF and others in the Packers coaching staff have mentioned they see Josiah filling an H-back role in this offense.

He wasn't drafted to line up on the LOS at TE, or to serve as a seam-busting TE. He was drafted to line up a pace and a half off the LOS as an H-back, mostly block, but also be available as a relief valve / quick hitter occasionally.

The problem is that between injuries in the TE room, and frankly, the lack of seeing MLF's true system being executed, he's been forced to play more of a traditional TE role than was probably ever intended.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

May 31, 2022 at 12:17 pm

He had good hands in college and he was essentially a rookie last year, given the loss of his first year in the league due to injury. The pre draft articles seem to think he can be both a blocker and a receiving option at the NFL level. It's way too early to say he should be cut. His role grew a bit later in the season last year and with more growth there's no reason why he can't be a contributor as both a blocker and receiving option.

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Packers0808's picture

May 31, 2022 at 01:14 pm

Where do you come up with this continuous nonsense?

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Packers0808's picture

May 31, 2022 at 01:15 pm

Delete, accident repeat post.

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MarkinMadison's picture

May 31, 2022 at 07:01 am

I mean, knowing the playbook, that matters. Knowing how to execute, that matters. Knowing how to beat coverage, that matters. Knowing your role, why does that matter at all?

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Roadrunner23's picture

May 31, 2022 at 07:28 am

I am hoping this is Degura’s year.

Coming off an ACL last year he started slow, but showed some glimpses of becoming a pretty good player as the season progressed Played out.

He’s an H back/fullback and will never be an in-line TE, MLF will have a special role for him and he will be counted on to produce in year 3.

I’m expecting big things from Him and I believe MLF and Steno are also.

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PeteK's picture

May 31, 2022 at 07:42 am

Dequara is the most versatile TE on the roster. He could also be an H back if needed. The 2020 draft is reaching that all important 3rd year where draftees must show progress. Dillon & Runyon are very productive, Dequara borderline, Garvin, Scott, Love, and Hanson will get their chances this year and must show progress.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

May 31, 2022 at 07:52 am

"Garvin, Scott, Love, and Hanson will get their chances this year and must show progress."

I surely hope not!! If Love gets his chance, that would be baaaaad!

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Johnblood27's picture

May 31, 2022 at 08:28 am

for Love, showing progress does not necessarily mean starting games.

Development and rockin' the pre-season would be nice.

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PeteK's picture

May 31, 2022 at 10:34 am

You read my mind. I would get myself a mental eval quickly. LOL

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 31, 2022 at 09:13 am

Pete,
Exactly right regarding being 3rd season for those players and this is the year these guysneed to show up.

Keep in mind though with the pandemic a good number of the Packer rookies (Watson, Wyatt, etc) are either the same age, or older than guys like Garvin, Love, etc. Meaning for many of these 3rd year players they are physically no more matured than these rookies.

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gkarl's picture

May 31, 2022 at 07:44 am

I still think we could have waited until the 5th round to draft him. Nothing against the player but a missed opportunity cost IMHO.

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Coldworld's picture

May 31, 2022 at 07:49 am

Deguara is not a TE. He was drafted because of his experience playing Hback (FBack in LaFleur’s parlance) and his body type and metrics fit that position (the same is true of Dafney, who became his backup).

Yes, Deguara can help the team, but if he’s having to play a conventional TE role then that’s both an indication that Davis isn’t ready to be the traditional all purpose TE and a less than optimal use of Deguara. Hopefully in this post Adams season we see LaFleur able to utilize the Hback role more fully and not have to ask Deguara or Daffney to fill in as a traditional TE. That would both help those players and be much better for the team.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

May 31, 2022 at 08:52 am

This right here. Deguara was drafted to fill a similar role to Juszczyk in SFs offense. If he can show some growth playing out of the backfield I think there will definitely be an opportunity for him to shine.

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mrtundra's picture

May 31, 2022 at 08:17 am

I'd use Deguara strictly on under the coverage, short yardage gained, move the chains, type of plays. Almost like a last resort, before Rodgers gets sacked, type of plays.

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croatpackfan's picture

May 31, 2022 at 08:31 am

I believe one play las season showed what type of plays Deguara are the best suited for. TD against Lions.

Not that I expect from JD to score on every similar play, but to reach 1st down marker or little more will be useful and his good contribution to the team success.

Of course, you can not expect that play on every down, he will be used for other purposes, but this play will be his main type of plays where he can expect the ball.

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Johnblood27's picture

May 31, 2022 at 08:33 am

I do not believe that Deguara will ever be considered a "dynamic" TE, however it would be nice to see him open and sure handed in the underneath areas picking up positive yards regularly.

His bread and butter is his versatility and what that means to the defense and how AR can manipulate the D by how he positions Deguara, that and his ability to win a potential mismatch with a slow-footed LB in a pass pattern or his ability to get the best of a LB or DB when blocking.

and... can he play special teams?

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dobber's picture

May 31, 2022 at 01:26 pm

He played about 30% of ST snaps in 2022.

...but then, how the STs fared last year might not be an endorsement for him there.

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LLCHESTY's picture

May 31, 2022 at 07:42 pm

He had 204 YAC yards out of 245 total, which points to some slipperiness. His 3.5 ADOT isn't great though. If he could up his targets from 33 to around 50 and his ADOT to around 5 it would be a solid season for him I think. He did play 35% of the snaps on offense(367 snaps) and a 132 on STs so I'd say they see some value in him being on the field.

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RCPackerFan's picture

May 31, 2022 at 08:40 am

The time is now for Deguara to take a step. Our offense needs as many guys as possible to become a reliable pass catcher. After losing Tonyan it really showed that we have a lack of options we have as a pass catching TE's. Deguara could be a key contributor and a key piece to the offense.

Our offense really needs a solid pass catching TE. Someone that you can do multiple things. Deguara definitely can be that guy.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 31, 2022 at 09:17 am

Believe Tonyan is going to have a monster season, which means he plays elsewhere in 2023. TE will be a priority in the draft regardless of what Deguara and Davis do this year.

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jhtobias's picture

May 31, 2022 at 09:47 am

I dont blame josiah for being way over drafted he is an over hyped h back. This is the kind of plsyer that goes in the 6th or 7th round. Cheesehead tv has been overhyping this guy for 2 years.

He is not a tightend he is a poor mans version of that fullback on the niners. If he fills that role great he is not nearly the player kyle is.

He might make a couple plays a yr but to expect him to be a foundation piece is silly . Gutey makes some great picks this is not one of them . Let it go.

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dobber's picture

May 31, 2022 at 10:29 am

11 personnel is the coin of the realm in the NFL. The Packers haven't played 11 personnel less than 56% of the time since--like--forever. They played 11 personnel 61% of the time in 2022 and 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE) 29% of the time--second most in the NFL. Marcedes Lewis has played 43-ish percent of offensive snaps the last couple years, regardless of the availability of Tonyan or Deguara or any other TE, so we can likely expect the same in 2022. His blocking and outlet role is independent of those other guys.

It sounds like Tonyan will play early in 2022 (the Packers have been pretty consistent in saying they expect him to play right away), and they favor good blocking/pass-catching WR (Watkins, Watson) which allows them to get downfield blocking without having to go to heavy sets and to disguise some of their run-pass intent at the LOS. So how many TE snaps are left for a guy like Deguara? I'd expect growth in 21 personnel (2 RBs) groupings in 2022 as the Packers get more of their playmakers (Dillon and AJones) on the field at the same time, so that doesn't bode well for him.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 31, 2022 at 01:12 pm

I did some Math. We average 66 plays a game, and we play double TE about 30% of the time, so that's going to mean about 86 snaps per game from the TE unit. Lewis plays 43% of the snaps, so that's about 29 per game. That still leaves over 55 snaps for the rest of the TE unit, The issue of targets is separate. The TE unit only averaged about 6 targets per game, split amongst them. It's going to be hard to make an impact when you're only getting two targets/game.

We play a lot of three wide, like you said, about 40 snaps have the defense basically forced to play nickel, which makes it easier to run on, since we're pushing with our 5 offensive linemen plus Lewis against only 6 defenders.

Remember all the times I said "Run More, Pass Less"? If you consider that quite a few of our passes are essentially long handoffs , like the throws to the RB or the little bubble screens we run, then we've achieved that. This offense is an RB-centric offense, and they get the ball about half the time. In addition to their carries, they were targeted 100 times last year, bring the total of about 500 carries/targets for our RBs. out of around 1100 total offensive snaps for the season.

My gut feeling is we're going to see a very similar distribution this year, with a few more targets going to the TE and a few less targets to the WR group.

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Johnblood27's picture

May 31, 2022 at 01:54 pm

yo LH, you added in the extra snaps for the 2 TE sets, did you also subtract out the snaps when there are no TE in the formation?

fuzzy math...

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Leatherhead's picture

May 31, 2022 at 04:50 pm

When you add all the offensive snaps for the TEs and divide by 17 games, you come up with 85 snaps per game. IF you have two of them on the field for 30% of the 66 plays, that's about 20 plays, or 40 TE snaps.. You need to have one on the field for the remaining 46 snaps in order to account for all the snaps.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 31, 2022 at 04:50 pm

When you add all the offensive snaps for the TEs and divide by 17 games, you come up with 85 snaps per game. IF you have two of them on the field for 30% of the 66 plays, that's about 20 plays, or 40 TE snaps.. You need to have one on the field for the remaining 46 snaps in order to account for all the snaps.

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dobber's picture

May 31, 2022 at 05:38 pm

Flashbacks to story problems in Algebra I....

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LeotisHarris's picture

May 31, 2022 at 06:40 pm

What if Degura leaves Chicago traveling at 11 mph at 4:45 pm and Lewis departs Los Angeles traveling 36 mph at 1:30 pm with a payload of 14 kg? Wind is out of the SSE at 9 mph, and Tonyan left from Nashville the day before driving erratically and low on fuel (diesel). Who arrives in Austin, Texas first?

Remember to show your work.

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dobber's picture

June 01, 2022 at 05:16 am

<<Raises hand>>

Can I go to the bathroom?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 01, 2022 at 02:53 am

I am onboard with LH's math. 1116 offensive snaps last year. TEs played 1439 snaps (might have been higher with a healthy Tonyan, but be that as it may be). About 1.29 TEs per snap on average or 1439/17 = 84.6/game. Lewis played 28.12 snaps per game, leaving 56.53 snaps per game for all other TEs. Tonyan played about 60% of possible offensive snaps in 2020 and 2021. That translates to 670 snaps, or 39.38 snaps per game. That leaves 17 snaps per game for all other TEs. In one theory.

Can Deguara eat into Lewis' snap count?
Will Tonyan be ready in time for the season opener?
Will he be fully healed and/or get his normal snaps?
Is Tyler Davis ready to take a big step?

My own thoughts:

I think Tyler Davis eats into both Tonyan's and Lewis' time.
I think Dafney is the guy on the outside looking in.
Tonyan gets 500 snaps.
Lewis gets 350 snaps.
Davis get 350 snaps.
Deguara gets 240 snaps.
Dafney get 50 snaps.

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LLCHESTY's picture

May 31, 2022 at 03:06 pm

Good breakdown Dobber. I agree they could use 21 personnel more depending on how the WR room shakes out. Deguara did play 367 snaps but was targeted on less than 10% of them. So maybe he sees the same amount of snaps but gets used a little more as a receiver when he's in there?

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PatrickGB's picture

May 31, 2022 at 01:42 pm

Can he? Yes he can. But he needs to know the playbook and Matt has to have the plays dialed up for it.

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DanW's picture

May 31, 2022 at 02:00 pm

Cory, are you on the Green Bay Packers coaching staff? You ask the question, "Can Deguara fill a need?" And then you answer, "Absolutely he can, as long he understands what the need is. He has to know that he will not be a primary weapon but if he proves himself early on, that could lead to an increased role later on when the games matter even more." Where did you get that "insight"? From the coaching staff? From Deguara himself? In other words, who are you to tell a professional football player what he needs to understand? I think he and the coaching staff might know and understand those types of things much better than we do.

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Johnblood27's picture

May 31, 2022 at 09:21 pm

OK...

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Lphill's picture

May 31, 2022 at 03:29 pm

Dafney is still in the mix at H back and is an effective blocker .

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LeotisHarris's picture

May 31, 2022 at 06:51 pm

You hear Mel Kiper talk about it all the time; "man, this kid is a real void filler. If there's a void needing to be filled, this kid fills it to the brim." Reminds me of so many of the great players from back in the days of the early NFL when guys played both ways. Who can forget Walt "Void Filler" Blackstone of the Toledo Maroons? Good Lord, that man could fill a void! Then there was Alston "The Void Filler" McGeorge who played three seasons with the Columbus Panhandles and four with the Dayton Triangles. I'll never forget what George Halas said about McGeorge; "Alston McGeorge is the finest void filler I've ever seen."

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Johnblood27's picture

May 31, 2022 at 09:23 pm

The Providence Steamroller had the best void fillers...

...unfortunately they also had the widest and deepest voids...

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