At Cincinnati, Deguara became only the second tight end in program history to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving for his career (1,117), only 18 yards behind 11-year NFL pro Brent Celek.
His 92 career receptions are the most among Bearcats tight ends, while he was just the second tight end in school history with 500 or more yards receiving in a season. The other? Kansas City All-Pro Travis Kelce (722 yards in 2012).
Yet, there’s something about Deguara’s recipe for success that has never resulted in top billing, an unquantifiable ethos that ultimately made him the Packers’ third-round pick in April’s NFL Draft.
He’s not strictly a “Y” blocking tight end or an “F” receiving tight end lined up in the slot or on the perimeter. He’s also not an H-back or drafted to replace Danny Vitale at fullback. Deguara is a football player and a pretty good one at that.
“A guy like him, he just lines up in a lot of different places,” offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. “He lines up on the line, off the ball, has the athleticism to move all over the place and insert himself throughout the front line, so I think it’s just one of those things it allows us to do some unique things in the run, play-pass world and also to catch the ball.”
Cincinnati lined up Deguara pretty much everywhere on offense, and his knowledge of the Bearcats’ playbook enabled him to be effective in practically every situation he was placed in.
No matter where Cincinnati was on the field, Deguara had an innate ability to break down coverages and find soft holes in the defense, particularly in the red zone. All 12 of his touchdowns came during his final two collegiate seasons.
What’s more, he has a knack that makes the quarterback comfortable to throw in his direction. And wherever the Bearcats needed Deguara, he slid right in.
“(There’s a term) we use around here, with our tight ends in particular, that they need to be that Swiss Army knife-type athlete who can fit into a number of different scenarios and situations and help our football team,” Denbrock said.
“I think the systems in the NFL it seems have moved more towards the San Francisco 49ers/Green Bay Packers, that mix where you need that H-back fullback who can do some multiple things.”
In the buildup to the draft, Denbrock felt the Packers were an ideal landing spot for Deguara after coaching alongside Head Coach Matt LaFleur at the University of Notre Dame in 2014.