It appears that Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst is looking far and wide for talent to help the Packers this season. First, it was the signing of CFL standout wide receiver Reggie Begelton. Not long after that, it was the signing of another CFL standout. Defensive back and Begelton’s former CFL teammate DaShaun Amos inked a deal with the Packers. Then, this past week, Gutekunst picked up another player who he is hoping can contribute for the Packers. John Lovett is hoping to be a diamond in the rough for the Packers.
John Lovett Could Be A Diamond in the Rough for Green Bay Packers
John Lovett and his journey to the Packers has been an interesting one. One that started at Princeton University in the Ivy League.
Lovett was a standout quarterback for Princeton from 2015-2018. During that time, he made a name for himself as a dual-threat quarterback. In 2018, his last at Princeton, Lovett threw for 18 touchdowns and 1,833 yards. He showed that he was a capable passer, but his running ability is what made him stand out.
His ability to run, along with his size (6’3″, 225 lbs), and athletic ability, made him start to appear on the radar of NFL teams. In fact, the Packers were a team that had hoped to sign Lovett as an undrafted free agent last off-season. Instead, Lovett signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. But when he hit the waiver wire this past week, Gutekunst and the Packers quickly gobbled him up.
There is little doubt that the Packers have a plan for the athletic Lovett. A plan that includes lining him up at fullback.
H-Back and Fullback in Lovett’s Future
This past off-season, last year’s starting fullback Danny Vitale departed as a free agent to the New England Patriots. While Vitale’s departure isn’t a team crushing loss, it still is a void that the Packers need to fill. Vitale was the Packers only true fullback. Along with his duties at fullback, Vitale was a major piece of the Packers special teams.
When Vitale went down to an injury during last season, the Packers were forced to utilize tight end, Jace Sternberger, in Vitale’s place. Sternberger did an admirable job filling in, but Sternberger will be needed at tight end this season.
John Lovett will have a chance to earn the fullback/h-back starting position this season. It appears that his only competition might be Josiah Deguara. Surprisingly to many, Deguara was selected in the third round of this year’s NFL draft. Most experts had the University of Cincinnati product slotted to go much later in the draft. His versatility is a plus. But for the Packers spending a third-round pick on him, they will need to get more out of him than just lining up at fullback. This should give Lovett an opening to win the starting fullback/h-back position.
Lovett was expected to compete for a similar type of position for the Chiefs last season. But a shoulder injury forced him to the injured reserve. Now, with a new franchise, he will once again have a chance to win that position.
The Taysom Hill Factor
The NFL is a copy cat league. It has been that way and continues to be that way. Remember the “wild cat” phase? That fad helped former quarterback Pat White get selected in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft.
Just like with the wild cat, the way the New Orleans Saints utilize Taysom Hill could create some copy cats throughout the NFL. Hill, who once spent a training camp with the Packers, has become a swiss army knife for the Saints. He lines up all over the field, sometimes at tight end, sometimes at fullback, and also at quarterback. His size, speed, and overall athleticism have given Saints head coach Sean Payton another weapon to utilize.
While we don’t know if John Lovett can be as good as Hill, he does have the same types of traits Hill has. Packers head coach and offensive play-caller Matt LaFleur could be able to utilize Lovett similar to how Payton has used Hill. That would mean that LaFleur would have to show some creativity, something he hasn’t illustrated yet as a play-caller. But having Lovett on his roster might push him in that direction.
The Packers will need to be creative on offense this season. The Packers aren’t loaded with playmakers, especially at wide receiver. If the Packers are going to win games, they are going to need to score points. A player such as Lovett will give LaFleur another option. If Lovett can develop as a pass-catcher, he could be utilized coming out of the backfield or even as a tight end. Lovett has the potential to be the type of player that can help LaFleur start to be more creative.
The addition of John Lovett might not have gotten a lot of headlines. But his ability could open some things up for the Packers offense. It could also give the Packers and Brian Gutekunst another diamond in their stable.
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