Add Intelligence to Deguara’s Diverse Skill-Set

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Other than quarterback, a tight end might have the most difficult playbook to learn.

A good tight end can split out as a receiver, line up in the backfield and, of course, play as a traditional tight end. That’s exactly the type of player Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst saw in Josiah Deguara, his third-round pick out of Cincinnati.

“I think that’s the really exciting thing about Josiah. Everywhere, quite frankly,” Gutekunst said during the draft when asked Deguara’s position. “As we went through the process, that’s a guy that Matt (LaFleur) was very, very excited about. I think he’ll be able to line up in-line with his hand down, I think he’ll line up in the slot, back as a fullback, an H-back. I think he can be a matchup piece that can move into all those different spots.”

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In time, maybe Deguara can become that type of player. However, as much as anyone on the roster, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged his development. Being able to play tight end, receiver and fullback also means, in essence, he has to learn three positions’ worth of plays.

Close to three-and-a-half months after he was drafted, Deguara still hasn’t lined up and run a play against the defense. However, LaFleur is pleased with how quickly Deguara has progressed mentally.

The next big test will come Saturday, when the team hits the practice field for the first time, and a few days later, when training camp officially goes live with pads, helmets and hitting.

“We’re fortunate that he’s a pretty smart guy,” LaFleur said on Sunday in the accompanying video. “He’s done a great job in our walkthroughs just picking everything up. We’ve thrown a lot at him. I’ve been really impressed with the way Josiah attacks it on a daily basis. I think (coaches) Justin Outten and Kevin Koger do a great job not only with him but with all the tight ends. Just really excited to see when we get down to practice, when we get into some of those move-the-ball situations where it’s not scripted, to see how these guys respond.”

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