With the emergence of Tucker Kraft and Luke Musgrave, have we seen the end of Packers TE Josiah Deguara? I still feel his versatility and connection to Jordan make it worth bringing him back to the squad.

2023 Potential

Admittedly going into the 2023 season I operated as an absolute mark when it came to the potential of the QB & TE connection between Jordan Love and Josiah Deguara.

Robert Tonyan and “Big Dog” Marcedes Lewis left for the inferior NFC North Divisional Rival to the south. This gave me high hopes that Josiah could be that next man up. I’ve always enjoyed the physicality of his game play and his work ethic. Overall I was feeling confident they would go after a good draft prospect and Josiah could be the leader of that room.

Alas, it seems the 3rd round curse may have dug another icy grave in the frozen tundra.

Arriving at Lambeau

Deguara caught 92 passes for 1,117 yards and 12 touchdowns over 46 games and 27 starts during his tenure at Cincinnati (PackersWire). Green Bay draffted Josiah at pick 94, and he arrived at Lambeau alongside Jordan Love.

Packers TE Josiah Deguara playing in Cincinnati

Both players were selected without expectations of replacing the respective starters in their rooms. Rodgers was firmly at the helm, and was named league MVP after the 2020 regular season campaign. With respect to Josiah, the Packers had just tendered exclusive rights to Bobby Tonyan. Meanwhile, Marcedes Lewis gave the TE room consistency and an irreplaceable veteran presence.

The spotlight was firmly on Jordan after the 1st round trade up heard around the world. Josiah himself seemed like a decent passing threat prospect. He also had a great upside on his run blocking given his snaps at halfback in Cincinnati.

Being backups, the two were able to record countless reps together allowing time to develop their connection. The pair became close friends on and off the field, and the stage seemed set for them to climb the ladder together.

Coming Into 2023

I genuinely believed that in 2023 Deguara could become a safety net for Jordan. After taking the reins from Rodgers, Jordan needed a familiar face and a veteran presence to lean on. Not unlike the bond formed between Rodgers and Marcedes Lewis.

Back in the Week 18 game of 2022 against the Lions you could see the high ceiling and potential of Love to Deguara.

Video: Off to the races! Josiah Deguara scampers 62 yards for a TD | Packers vs. Lions (Packers.com) Green Bay Packers QB Jordan Love connects with TE Josiah Deguara on a 62-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of a Week 18 game against the Detroit Lions.

Rookies Ballin Out

The Packers rubbed that icy crystal ball in Gutey’s office at 1265 Lombardi again coming into 2023. In a surprising move, they doubled down on Tight Ends Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft in the draft.

Now to be fair, I definitely had a draft crush on Luke Musgrave. He appeared on several of my mocks. I was pretty over the moon when he was drafted. That being said, I don’t think anyone could have predicted Musgrave AND Tucker Kraft both balling out as hard as they did. I myself was even one of the moronic haters when it came to Tucker.

I was happy to dine on crow watching him light it up after Musgrave’s heartbreaking injury.

Looking Back on 2023 and Ahead to 2024

Ultimately, I think it’s fair to say that 8 receptions for 65 yards over the course of the 2023 season was not the explosive coming out I anticipated. I still believe Josiah is an amazing part of the run game. I loved the dual FB/TE role the Packers put him in.

In 2024 Josiah could definitely be a cap friendly special teams and run block contributor. I don’t know that he is currently on teams radars, and I stil think there’s a benefit to having him in the locker room with Jordan. I also believe his postional versatility can play to the strength of throwing defenses off balance. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see him back in camp this year.

The Packers organization however seems to have struck gold with their 2023 draft class. The talent in their rooms is making a number of positions very competitive. With the allure of snatching up prime talent in free agency, and some major draft capital to burn, (not to mention the two new stud tight ends they found), it may unfortuantely be time to part ways.