2020 NFL Draft | Prospect film session with Cincinnati tight end Josiah Deguara


I sat down for an interview with the tight end who is flying up most draft boards this offseason in Josiah Deguara from Cincinnati. He has had an excellent postseason as he had a great week at the Senior Bowl and put up some of the best numbers for tight ends at the NFL Scouting Combine.

To start today’s interview, I wanted to ask him about his week in Mobile for the Senior Bowl and how that overall week was for him:

“It was a great experience and it definitely was a crazy week with the non-stop interviews and meetings throughout the week. I loved it and I loved competing though. You got the best players in the country down there and being able to compete against them and being able to have success when I had the opportunity was really get. Just getting that more exposure and putting my name out there was great. I just took advantage of every opportunity out there and it was a great experience overall.”

With today’s film session, we are looking at some of Deguara’s clips against Ohio State. While the team didn’t play as well as they could have against this powerhouse, he had a good game overall and I wanted to highlight some of those plays. First, I asked him how the preparation was that week going against a team like Ohio State:

“We knew they were a great team, we didn’t they would be THAT good but we knew they were a great team. For us though, we try to take every week on in it’s own way. Going into that week, it was only the second game of the season so we really only had one game of film on that defense and they new coaches and such. We really tried to study them and me personally just looking at the players they got and recognizing they had great players like Chase Young and game planning for those players. We took it on as we did though and we didn’t do a horrible job on offense overall but it was a cool experience going out to play those guys.”

Clip 1

This first clip was one of my favorites in all my film study because of Deguara’s footwork. To start though I asked him if this was just a typical post route or what was this play call:

“As you see the receiver is really close to me in alignment, it is really like a four vert type of play. We did bunch to my side so the two outside guys have four step roll routes. So from there, me and the other slot to the right both had vertical routes. I’m technically to the boundary so I have the option to bend it so that is kind of what I do on this type of concept.”

Getting back to his footwork, he plays with really quick feet in his route running. I asked him important it was to his game to have these quick and nimble feet when running his routes:

“I definitely use it to my advantage. As you can see, I kind of attack his leverage and get open that way. I love breaking down defenders. Going into this game, I studied their linebackers and studied how they played man to man and knew if I attacked their leverage I could beat them inside and hit them on a post if the area is open. This is called a bender move as we like to call it as I’m bending it to the middle of the field and obviously I was able to make a play.”

In regards to these bender routes that are basically option routes for the tight end after he creates separation, I asked Deguara when he is getting his eyes back to the quarterback on this type of route:

“It really just depends. I saw the safety over the top so I knew it was going to have to be put on me right away. If the middle of the field is open then I can stick it at the top and then get out. I kind of knew right here though that once I beat the linebacker right away, our quarterback was going to put the ball on me. We had communication about that during the week and that is also what led to me turning back at this exact moment for the catch.”

Clip 2

This next clip is great for so many reasons. The first one being that there should never be a situation where Deguara is tasked with blocking a player like Chase Young in pass protection. I asked him though, on plays like this, what is key for him when he is matched up with defensive ends in ISO blocks in pass protection:

“For off, let’s take away that he is obviously a great great pass rusher. At first, I took a step in to take away the inside so he couldn’t beat me right there. I knew if I made him run the loop, it would be a little bit of time before he got to the quarterback. I knew I had a little bit of help from the running back but I don’t want to rely on that. I took away the inside, I could have stayed a little lower off the snap from a leverage standpoint, but I treat every player the same and obviously going one on one against Chase Young you have to make sure you have all your technique perfect. I think we did a great job on this play.”

I asked Deguara next just how comfortable he feels overall in ISO blocks in pass protection and in the run game:

“I’m very comfortable in that role. One thing I loved about playing at Cincinnati was all the different things they had me do, I’m pretty well rounded from everything they had me doing in our offense. So I’m very comfortable in ISO blocks in pass game, run game, or pretty much anything because I have done it before.”

Clip 3

Here Deguara is lined up as a “sniffer” tight end behind the left tackle. I asked him to start off how comfortable he felt in this type of role as a sniffer for an offense:

“Again, very comfortable. Me and the other tight end (#87) did it a lot, I was typically there in our 12 package or two tight end package as I was the more moving around guy and moving out on linebackers and things like that so I’m super comfortable. A lot of teams have asked me about that halfback/fullback type position at the next level and I didn’t play any traditional fullback in college but I got some exposure at the Senior Bowl and I’m familiar with fitting up on linebackers and cracking back due to playing this role at Cincinnati a lot.”

I asked him next how important his crack back is on plays like this and also how vital it is to have good timing on these plays for the play to find success:

“It’s big. As you can see with this clip, there is kind of a hole right there and the linebacker fits over the lineman unfortunately but if not there is a big hole right there. You have to take it all differently though because a lot of defensive ends wrong shoulder you where they use their outside arm like Young does here. It really depends how you take that block on though because some players will slow play it while others will crash down so you just have to be ready for anything and seal that backside.”

Lastly, I asked Deguara about what happened after the play. I asked him jokingly if he said something to Young, as it looked like they were talking a bit of trash after the play:

“I don’t remember exactly what was said but I always play with a little chip on my shoulder and like to talk. I was probably saying a little something to him but I just like to have fun out there and talking is a part of the game.”

Clip 4

This final clip showcases Deguara extending his route, finding an opening, and making a tough catch in traffic for the first. I asked him how important it is to not only make these types of catches but also working yourself open as a tight end:

“I always try to be the player that if our quarterback…I mess with our quarterback a little bit and tell him stuff like ‘I’m always open’ and ‘if you ever need someone just throw it up to me’. You always try to be that safety blanket though and this is an example of that. Our quarterback does a great job here of extending the play looking downfield outside of the pocket and I just always want to be there if he needs me.”

Tight ends in the NFL are getting more and more athletic and Deguara definitely fits that profile. I asked him if his athleticism separates him in this draft class and also if it separates him as he gets to the NFL:

“Yeah I think that and my versatility that we’ve talked about throughout this film session. I believe that there are different things that I do very well and I have a pretty solid all around game. There is always room for improvement but I’m able to make plays when needed and I can do a lot of different things for an NFL team.”

I ended the interview with my typical question. I asked him what my NFL team would be getting both on and off the field if they draft him this year:

“They are getting a hard worker, a leader, a guy with a chip on his shoulder always and a real trustworthy teammate who is going to do anything for the betterment of the team. I know I’m going to have to play special teams and I can play all special teams. I can do a lot of different things on offense. I think I’m a solid all around player and I’ll do anything to make the team that drafts me better.”