Chicago Bears: Josiah Deguara would be a steal at TE

Chicago Bears (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bears, Josiah Deguara
Chicago Bears (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Q & A with Josiah Deguara

DaWindyCity (DWC): Tell me a little bit about what you have been doing to prepare for the NFL Draft.

Josiah Deguara (JD): Right now I’m training at EXOS in Phoenix. They have some great players and coaches out here so this is the best place for me to get ready for the draft. Next week I’ll be headed to the Senior Bowl, and getting ready for the Combine after that.

DWC: Speaking of the Senior Bowl, I saw a tweet from Jim Nagy commenting on your hustle play in the UCLA game and how scouts take notice of that type of thing. What was it like to know that caught their attention?

JD: It’s definitely cool when someone recognizes that stuff. For me, I pride myself on being a hard worker and outworking whoever I’m facing — whether it’s competing for a spot on my own team or my opponent. So that was a play I was able to make for my team. That’s what my team at Cincinnati prided itself on, so it was cool that someone took notice of that. It was a cool situation but that’s just something that Cincinnati and I personally pride ourselves on.

DWC: Out of high school, it sounds like you were deciding between The Air Force Academy and The University of Cincinnati. How did you end up playing for the Bearcats?

JD: I’m originally from Sacramento, California. I got the Air Force offer in November of my senior year. I wasn’t even really thinking of going there and was going to commit to a D-1AA school called UC-Davis which is like 45 minutes from my house. Then Cincinnati came in late. I think the tight end that had committed got injured and was grey-shirted so they had a spot. And I had a tie to the offensive line coach, Darren Hiller, who is over at Indiana University now. But I really just wanted to play at the highest level of football. So I took a visit, and loved it — loved the coaching staff as well. I loved my time out there.

DWC: I was reading a story about how when you were coming out of high school, some people were saying you weren’t big enough or fast enough. Is that something that motivated you in college?

JD: Oh yeah, for sure. I was looked at as a tweener coming out of high school — not fast enough for wide receiver, and not big enough for tight end. People didn’t really know where I fit so I think that played into the recruitment process. So going into college, I definitely wanted to prove people wrong. And so being able to play at a school like Cincinnati and have the success we had has been a blessing. But I definitely used that as a chip on my shoulder and still do to this day at certain points.

DWC: I read where you said it has always been a dream of yours to play in the NFL but it hadn’t seemed real yet. Does it feel real yet?

JD: Yeah it’s starting to. I’ve been out in Phoenix for about a week getting in the groove training. We have some great players here at EXOS so being able to push each other, it’s starting to feel real. Then going to the Senior Bowl next week is going to be another awesome experience and opportunity for me to showcase my skills. So I think it’s definitely starting to feel real. I think all my friends back on my team get their offseason started tomorrow so once I see them working out, it’s really going to start to feel real — but I’m just blessed to be in this position and ready to keep it going.

DWC: So when you get down to the Senior Bowl, what do you hope to accomplish and what do you think the scouts will take away from your performance?

JD: I definitely want to show that I can make plays and am a very versatile player. I want to show the scouts that I can do anything teams want me to do — whether it’s put my hand down and play tight end or maybe play a little H-back, play a little fullback, put me in the slot, or make a few plays down the field. I want to prove that I can do a little bit of everything and do everything really well. I think the coaches and scouts will also see that I’m a competitor — I love to compete and that’s really what I’m excited about is competing against some of the best players in the country. It’s a great opportunity for me. I’m a hard worker and at the end of the day, I’m just going to put my head down and grind. I’m humble but play with a chip on my shoulder.

DWC: Talk to me a little about some of your strengths and maybe one or two things you think separate you from other tight ends in this class?

JD: I think one of my strengths is my versatility. I can do a little bit of everything. I can line up in the slot and beat the linebacker one-on-one but also lead run-block and be that move around guy and also block a defensive end. I think that’s what separates me from other tight ends is having that versatility and being able to make plays down the field.

DWC: What are some of the things you want to work on and improve as you move towards the draft?

JD: Definitely my blocking all around. I played a little receiver so that aspect has always come a little naturally to me, but I’ve worked very hard to improve my blocking. I’m still working to perfect every aspect of my game, but am really focused on my blocking.

DWC: Is there an aspect of your game you think might be underrated?

JD: I think I’m a very reliable down-field threat. I wasn’t able to show it too much in college. But being able to make plays vertically is something I think I can do really well. And maybe my blocking as well, you know, just because I might be a smaller guy some people think I’m not as good a blocker but I think my film and tenacity says otherwise.

DWC: I saw an interesting quote from your offensive coordinator where he said you “really understand defensive coverages and have a knack for understanding how to beat any situation [you’re] put into.” What do you think he meant by that?

JD: Yeah I think our OC and position coach, Mike Denbrock, has coached some great tight ends in his career that are still in the league to this day. He really helped me take my game to the next level this year in helping me identify different defenses. Not just playing the guessing game, but knowing what the defense is going to do. And being able to recognize that while I’m playing the game. I took pride in doing that this offseason and during the season, and that’s another aspect of my game I want to continue to work on.

DWC: Tell me something fans might not know about you.

JD: I’m a huge family guy. No matter what is going on in my life, I’m always going to take time to spend with my family. And I’m a big golfer in the offseason. I grew up playing the game with my dad and uncle, so I really like golfing with the family.

DWC: If we put you in a room with all 32 NFL general managers before the draft, what would you want them to know about you?

JD: I’d start out by saying that I’m blessed to be in this situation so any team that gives me an opportunity, I’m going to do whatever that team needs — whether it’s special teams, offense, or any other aspect of the game. I believe I’m the type of player who can contribute in a lot of ways and I’m going to bring a lot of different things to whatever team drafts me. I think I excel in a lot of areas so any team that chooses me will not regret that decision.

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DWC: Josiah, thank you so much for spending some time chatting with us and we wish you the best of luck in the future.

JD: Thank you man — I really appreciate that and appreciate your time.