During the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Oregon tight end David Paulson. David Paulson is the fourth Oregon Ducks player to be drafted in the 2012 NFL Draft (LaMichael James to San Francisco, Josh Kaddu to Miami, and Mark Asper to Buffalo). Last season, Paulson had 31 receptions with 438 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Paulson was a steady pass-catching tight end for the Oregon Ducks during his years with the team and he hopes to carry it into his NFL career. I will break down how David Paulson will fit in with the Pittsburgh Steelers and my overall grade on the draft pick made by the Pittburgh Steelers.
One of David Paulson’s biggest strengths entering the 2012 NFL Draft was his athletic ability. Paulson is aware that his athleticism is a strength and he knows how to play to it. For example, while running his routes, Paulson would either lean on linebackers or throw a quick jab in order to get free and make the catch. He can also block fairly well. At Oregon, he was often called on to block for LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner, and De’Anthony Thomas.
One of David Paulson’s weaknesses entering the 2012 NFL Draft was his ability to get open at the next level. Paulson will not be able to lean on the linebackers in the NFL or jab them like he could do in college. Also, he is not the quickest tight end when it comes to changing directions. This could favor NFL linebackers because his slow changes in direction can help opposing linebackers recover and undercut the route.
Overall, this is a nice draft pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Right now, the number one tight end on the roster for the Pittsburgh Steelers is Heath Miller. There is no question about whether or not Miller will be the starting tight end next season. David Paulson will be asked to be the back-up tight end behind Heath Miller on the depth chart. This is one of the best case scenarios for Paulson. The reason I say that is because David Paulson will need time in the NFL to develop how to get open at the next level like he did during his time with the Oregon Ducks. By getting some playing time behind Miller, Paulson will develop these abilities and could become a very effective tight end in the NFL.
Overall Pick Grade: B+
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