Jace Sternberger

NFC North Notes: Packers, Rodgers, Vikings

Let’s take a quick spin around the NFC North:

  • Appearing on a recent episode of “10 Questions with Kyle Brandt,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers confirmed he was surprised Green Bay didn’t select a wide receiver in the 2020 draft, and also admitted he’s likely to be traded in the future due to the Packers’ addition of first-round signal-caller Jordan Love (Twitter link via Kevin Clark of The Ringer). The entire clip is well-worth a watch, as Rodgers doesn’t indicate any anger at the Love pick — instead, he comes off as pragmatic and realistic regarding his future in Green Bay. The Packers could most likely move on from Rodgers — whether via trade or release — after the 2021 season.
  • Incumbent Vikings left tackle Riley Reiff is likely to stay put on the blindside, so second-round pick Ezra Cleveland has been working at guard, offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak told reporters, including Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Cleveland, who played tackle at Boise State, hasn’t seen much action at guard, but it’s possible he could compete with Pat Elflein and Dru Samia for a starting role at either left or right guard. Minnesota ranked in the top-half of the league in Football Outsiders‘ offensive line metrics in 2019.
  • Packers kicker Mason Crosby and tight end Jace Sternberger, as well as Bears defensive tackle John Jenkins, were among the NFL players recently placed on the COVID reserve list, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Packers To Activate TE Jace Sternberger

With Aaron Rodgers in the running for his third MVP award, he will have another weapon to target. Third-round rookie tight end Jace Sternberger will come off the Packers’ IR list, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The Packers placed Sternberger on IR in early September but will use one of their two return slots on the Texas A&M alum. Sternberger was one of this draft’s top tight end prospects, having completed a breakout season for the 2018 Aggies.

Green Bay spent most of its top offseason resources to help out its defense, signing Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Adrian Amos before using both of its 2019 first-round picks on defenders (Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage). Sternberger went off the board at No. 75 overall, doing so after a 48-reception, 832-yard, 10-touchdown junior season. The 6-foot-4 tight end had only caught one pass in his previous two seasons in College Station.

Sternberger returned to Packers practice earlier this month. He joins a tight end corps housing 10th-year veteran Jimmy Graham and 14th-year talent Marcedes Lewis.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Players Returning From IR/PUP

Now that we’re approaching the midway point of the regular season, players on various injury lists are now able to begin to return to practice and, eventually, return to game action. Here’s the list of players coming back to practice this week while on injured reserve or physically unable to perform list, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets:

Players on the PUP list are only required to miss six weeks of the regular season, so every player listed above with the exception of Sternberger could technically be activated this weekend. Sternberger has officially been designated as one of Green Bay’s IR/return players, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Because he was originally placed on IR, Sternberger — a third-round rookie — will be absent for at least two more weeks.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/3/19

Here are today’s minor moves:

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Packers Wrap Draft Class

The Packers have wrapped up their 2019 NFL Draft class. On Monday, the club signed tight end Jace Sternberger, according to an announcement from his agent. 

Sternberger, a third-round pick, started his collegiate career at Kansas but wasn’t given much of an opportunity. He left to sign with JUCO program Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College and put together a solid game tape that elicited attention from top schools such as Florida State and Boise State. When Jimbo Fisher moved on to the Aggies, he brought Sternberger with him.

In Sternberger’s one and only season at Texas A&M, he caught 48 passes for 832 yards, good for a 17.3 yards per catch average. He also reeled in ten touchdowns, proving that he can be a difference-maker in the red zone. For now, Sternberger will be stationed behind veterans Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis.

Here’s the full rundown of the Packers’ class, courtesy of PFR’s tracker:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Notes: Sternberger, Jets, Thorson

The Patriots are on the lookout for tight end help in the wake of Rob Gronkowski‘s retirement, and the club will have a top-30 visit with Texas A&M TE Jace Sternberger, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The Pats could use their No. 32 overall pick on a tight end, and while that may be a little high for Sternberger, top prospects Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson may be off the board by that point. Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr. could be available, though, and there is no reason why New England, which has deployed two tight ends to great effect in the past, could not use several of its 12 picks in this year’s draft on the tight end position.

Now for more draft-related rumblings from around the league:

  • In addition to the Patriots, Wilson reports that Sternberger has visits lined up with the Chiefs, Packers, Lions, Cowboys, Vikings, and Seahawks.
  • Brian Costello of the New York Post does not believe that the Jets will invest high-end draft capital on the WR, RB, or TE positions this year in light of their free agent expenditures, but he still thinks the club could bolster those units with collegiate prospects. He suggests that Gang Green could use a middle- or late-round selection on a wideout, particularly if that player offers return ability, and he thinks a Day 3 blocking tight end and power back could also be in the cards. Of course, with only six draft picks at the moment, New York may need to focus on areas of greater need.
  • Penn State DE Shareef Miller will visit with the Ravens, Cardinals, and Jets, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Miller currently projects as a Day 3 pick, but all three clubs could use pass rushing help, and Miller has the raw ability to succeed as a 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB.
  • The Broncos may be hosting some of the top QBs in this year’s draft class, but they’re looking at more under-the-radar passers as well, as Mike Klis of 9News.com tweets that Denver will be working out Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson in early April. Thorson is expected to be a middle-round selection.
  • Valdosta State CB Stephen Denmark has top-30 visits lined up with the Browns and Saints, per Wilson (via Twitter).