For former Texas A&M Aggie tight end Jace Sternberger, his rise to being the no. 1 TE option for the Green Bay Packers was all a part of the plan.
When he was drafted, Jimmy Graham was the incumbent first option in-house, with Sternberger, Robert Tonyan, and veteran Marcedes Lewis being the proven veteran. Signed after his stint with the Seattle Seahawks, Graham’s short stay in GB was not even close to the level that it needed to be on, setting the table for Sternberger’s ascension to the top of the depth chart.
Looked at as a potential breakout candidate by people across the league, Sternberger may have the best chance across the NFC North to turn his potential into actual results. And with how the obvious shift in offensive focus of Matt LaFleur’s offense is trending towards a run-focus scheme, the TE play looks to be even more important.
Josiah Deguara was brought in as a third-round TE that will be looked to fill the H-back slot for LaFleur, and while his draft slot seemed to be a bit high for his grade, he fits a specific need and type for what the offense is transitioning to.
With Deguara in house, that helps give Sternberger a more polished role in the slot and in-line, which gives him a much better chance at securing a regular target share rate with Aaron Rodgers, whose history with tight end utilization lends itself to good things being ahead for him.
30 targets, 350 yards, and 5 touchdowns seem like a reasonable line to expect of Stern in his sophomore year, especially if he and Rodgers are able to be established early on. When looking at the second years of both Richard Rodgers and Jimmy Graham, Sternberger should be expected to put up less than both, although Graham’s 38/447/3 line is a lot more reasonable for Stern to reach than Rodgers’ 58/510/8 impressive 2015 season.
Taking pressure off of Davante Adams, as well as adding another helping hand to the pool of Allen Lazard, Devin Funchess, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, and any sort of limited Jake Kumerow/Reggie Begelton/Darrell Stewart Jr. contributions is exactly what Stern will be able to do, all while adding a blocking element to the offense as well. While injuries are a concern and will need to not be an issue if he wants to be successful in 2020, Stern has the intangibles to make this season exactly the reason why he was drafted 75th overall in the 2019 draft.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23