With the 240th pick in the 7th round, the Pittsburgh Steelers select David Paulson, a wide receiver out of Oregon.
Paulson is an interesting pick. In an era when tight ends are becoming more like wide receivers, the Steelers drafted a player who isn’t going to light up the scoreboard.
David Paulson doesn’t have blazing speed. In fact, he’s rather slow. Nor is he an amazing athlete. But he has very good hands, and can make catches with defenders draped on him. More importantly, he’s a hard worker who isn’t afraid to block.
Paulson played more like a wide receiver than a tight end in Oregon’s spread offense. He often lined up in the slot, or was split wide.
While he only had 31 catches for 438 yards and 6 touchdowns as a senior, he was voted Co-MVP on offense by his Oregon Ducks teammates. That says a lot about how much his team thought about his contribution.
Paulson’s size is probably going to be a disadvantage in the NFL. Standing only 6’3″, and weighing 243 lbs., he’s much smaller than Heath Miller (6’5″, 256 lbs.), Leonard Pope (6’8″, 264 lbs.), or David Johnson (6’2″, 260 lbs.). He’s not big enough to be a bruising blocker, and he’s not tall enough or fast enough to excel as a receiver. Therefore, he may be best used as an H-back like David Johnson. But until we know more about what new offensive coordinator Todd Haley plans to do, it’s hard to guess how Paulson might be used.
With Heath Miller and Leonard Pope on the roster, it’s not likely that Paulson will see much playing time at tight end. Moreover, he’s at a weight disadvantage versus David Johnson at H-back. So he’ll have his work cut out for him at training camp. But with hard work, who knows what can happen. And one thing that David Paulson will definitely do is work hard.