Packers: Jace Sternberger entering make-or-break 2021 season

Green Bay Packers, Jace Sternberger (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Jace Sternberger (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

There’s no doubt that Jace Sternberger is talented and has the potential to become a very good tight end in the NFL. For one reason or another, we’re yet to see it in a Green Bay Packers uniform.

In his first two seasons with the Packers, Sternberger has just 12 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.

Part of it has been due to injury. Sternberger suffered an injury during the summer of his rookie season and would miss valuable practice time and regular season action. He was limited to just six games in his first year. In 2020, Sternberger missed time with a concussion.

Perhaps the biggest concern is that Sternberger was a healthy scratch for the Packers late in the season. The former third-round pick didn’t play a single snap in the team’s two playoff games despite not featuring on the injury report.

When Green Bay moved on from Jimmy Graham last offseason, the first thought was it’d lead to an increased role for Sternberger. Instead, it was Robert Tonyan who led the way at tight end, establishing himself as one of the best receiving tight ends in the league with 586 yards and 11 touchdowns.

It can take time for tight ends in the NFL. Tonyan is proof of that.

“Big” Bob Tonyan went undrafted in 2017, signed with the Detroit Lions but was released before his rookie year started, before eventually being picked up by the Packers on the practice squad during the season.

In 2018 and ’19, Tonyan had a combined 14 receptions. He had 52 in ’20.

The same could be true for Sternberger as he enters year three. Before he was drafted, The Draft Network’s Joe Marino wrote that by his second or third season, “Sternberger can be a dynamic, versatile and productive starter for an NFL offense”.

Sternberger was a great receiving threat at Texas A&M, catching 48 passes for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns.

There’s still time for his talent to translate into NFL production, but it’s fair to say Sternberger is entering a make-or-break third season with the Packers in 2021.

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