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With career totals of 14 receptions and 228 receiving yards, it's easy to forget that Niles Paul was at one point a receiver.
During his final two years at Nebraska, Paul hauled in 79 catches for 1,312 yards.
Be that as it may, the only significant time Paul has seen as a Redskin has been on special teams. With the exodus of Mike Shanahan and the arrival of Gruden, though, there may be a window for Paul to change that.
Set to be a free agent after the 2014 season, the timing couldn't be any better.
As the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, Gruden made it a point to utilize two-tight end sets, especially on first downs. According to ESPN.com's John Keim, the Bengals used this set 229 times on first down in 2013. By comparison, the second-most utilized formation, the three-receiver set, was run just 112 times.
With Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert as the headliners, Cincinnati tight ends caught 88 passes for 925 yards last season.
Looking at Washington's roster, though, there's little weaponry at the position outside of Jordan Reed to warrant using such a tight end-heavy set.
Logan Paulsen, while a sturdy blocker, is a lumbering receiver who isn't going to test the seams of a defense in the manner of an Eifert or Gresham. As for rookie Ted Bolser, the Redskins simply have a younger version of Paulsen.
In his scouting report, NFL.com's Nolan Nawrocki detailed Bolser's deficiencies as a receiver: "Lumbering mover. One-speed route runner with minimal burst and acceleration to separate. Much of his production is schemed--creates little on his own."
This is where Paul comes in. While it's doubtful that a bulked up Paul still possesses the 4.51 40-yard dash speed he displayed prior to the draft, he's the most dynamic receiver Washington has to pair with Reed.
Factor in the promotion of former tight ends coach Sean McVay to offensive coordinator, and the ingredients are there for Paul to stand out in camp.