Jace Sternberger exploded onto the national scene as a member of Texas A&M football, and the Green Bay Packers are hoping he can have an immediate impact.
It’s rare to have a football team at any level where the tight end is the most productive weapon in the passing game. Even if the tight end is the best player and better than any wide receiver, tight ends don’t typically rack up the stats that a good wide receiver does. Such was not the case for Texas A&M football in 2019, when Jace Sternberger led all players on the Aggies in catches, yards, touchdowns, and yards per catch.
It was a rare statistical season from a tight end and one that rightfully earned praise, at least from some. Strangely enough, despite being No. 2 in yards, No. 1 in touchdowns, and No. 2 in yards per catch among tight ends with at least 20 catches, Sternberger was not a finalist for the John Mackey award given to the nation’s best tight end. By just about any metric, he should have been. You could have even made the case he should have won it.
Alas, he wasn’t, but he was a consensus First Team All American, the first since Mike Evans, Jake Matthews and Johnny Manziel in 2013.
He was good enough to be a third round pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 2019 NFL Draft. Joining Aaron Rodgers may have been the best possible destination for am excellent receiving tight end like Jace. He has a chance to step right on the field and make an impact for a team that should contend for a Super Bowl title.
In fact, Pro Football Focus even suggested Sternberger could take playing time away from veteran Jimmy Graham, who has been a disappointment since leaving the Saints high-powered offense. Here is what PFF had to say about Jace:
"Before the draft, the Packers’ pair of tight ends atop the depth chart both were over the age of 31, with Jimmy Graham carrying the brunt of the workload (83 targets) last season. Seven players on the Packers’ roster received 30-plus targets last season, but just two of those players earned a grade that exceeded 65.0.Green Bay selected Jace Sternberger in the third round of the draft, and with that pick, they got the highest-graded receiving tight end in the draft class (91.1). The opportunity is there for Sternberger, as Graham earned an 87.2 passer rating when targeted last year — 33rd among tight ends with at least 30 targets. Graham has been one of the best tight ends of the last decade, but the data suggests it may be time to turn over a new stone in Green Bay regarding the tight end position."
The Packers are getting an incredible worker, one of the best receiving tight ends in the country and a guy who is a willing blocker and could continue to improve in that area as he learns from NFL coaches.
Jace Sternberger almost certainly would have preferred to be selected in the first round, but that’s no longer his story. What happens from here is all that matters, and he has a major opportunity with the Green Bay Packers.