Packers: Don’t forget about Josiah Deguara in 2021

Green Bay Packers, Josiah Deguara - Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinDeguara Dan Powers
Green Bay Packers, Josiah Deguara - Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-WisconsinDeguara Dan Powers /

As Josiah Deguara blocked two Minnesota Vikings defenders to set up an Allen Lazard 19-yard rush in the Green Bay Packers‘ season-opener, we saw a glimpse of why Matt LaFleur is a huge fan of his.

Deguara, the Packers’ third-round pick last spring, was expected to do a bit of everything. Whether lined up at fullback or out wide at receiver, Deguara is a versatile player who was set for an important role in LaFleur’s offense.

Unfortunately, Deguara’s rookie season was cut short before it even got going.

Injury in the season opener forced Deguara to miss the Packers’ next two games. He had impressed in his debut. He would make his return in Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons but tore his ACL late in a comfortable Packers win.

Just like that. Season over. And a whole lot of “what-ifs?”.

What kind of rookie season would Deguara have had in Green Bay? LaFleur made it clear he loves him. He said as much last spring.

And the early signs in 2020 sure seemed to point to Deguara playing many roles in the Packers’ offense, as expected when the team drafted him last year.

If there’s one positive to take away from suffering a torn ACL early in the season, it’s that it gives you plenty of time to recover and prepare for the following year. The opposite is true for All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari who suffered a similar injury on New Year’s Eve. Bakhtiari could miss the start of the 2021 season.

Hopefully, Deguara will return close to 100 percent in time for training camp and be full-go by the time the regular season rolls around.

AJ Dillon should be set for an increased role with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams both potentially hitting free agency. Kamal Martin could also see more game time on defense.

But another player from the 2020 draft class to watch is Josiah Deguara. After impressing early last season, injury cut year one short.

I’m excited to see year two.