In the 3rd round, with the 75th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers selected tight end out of Texas A&M, Jace Sternberger. Even though he put up very good numbers for a tight end last year in college, the pick still had some Packer fans scratching their heads. With two tight ends already on the depth chart, where will Jace Sternberger fit in the offense?
Last year, playing in the toughest conference in college football, Sternberger had 48 catches, 832 yards (17 yards per catch), and 10 touchdowns en route to becoming a 1st Team All-American. His 10 touchdowns actually tied the A&M record for touchdown receptions in a season by a tight end. He was one of the 8 finalists for the John Mackey Award which is given to college football’s top tight end in the nation. Jace Sternberger has great hands, runs great routes and is athletically similar to Philadelphia’s star tight end, Zach Ertz. Sternberger can be thrown into any passing attack and find ways to be successful. The only downside when it comes to Jace is his ability to block but that is a skill numerous tight ends learn the longer they’re in the league. With Matt LaFleur, who has been good in the past at getting tight ends involved in the offense, Sternberger can be the consistent pass-catching threat the Packers have not had since Jared Cook in 2016.
When the season starts, Sternberger will be the 2nd stringer behind potential future Hall of Famer, Jimmy Graham, and Robert Tonyan will be the 3rd stringer. One of Green Bay’s biggest questions going into this season is, what does Jimmy Graham have left? Will we see the Jimmy of old or the Jimmy we had last year? Many analysts and even Packers’ General Manager, Brian Gutekunst, expect Graham to have a bounce-back year but that doesn’t mean it is destined to happen. If Jimmy starts off slow and doesn’t produce the way coaches want him too in the first five or six weeks, the Packers might get impatient and desperate for tight end help. They will look no further than Jace Sternberger.
I’m extremely high on Sternberger. I think he can be this year’s draft steal, but to do that, he has to see the field.
Right now, Sternberger fits on the Packers as the second-string tight end but if push comes to shove midseason and Jimmy Graham isn’t performing, fans can expect Sternberger to become the starter. With Sterberger’s ability to get open, he can be an elite weapon Aaron Rodgers’ can use in the red zone. Last season, Davante Adams seemed to be the only Packer able to find space in the end zone but Sternberger showed at A&M that he can be the the Robin to Davante’s Batman. With the NFL becoming more and more pass oriented every season, it is more important than ever to have a pass catching tight end to open up the offense and Jace can be that guy. Jimmy Graham will enter the season as the starting tight end but nobody should be surprised if Sternberger takes over the position around Week 7.