40: 4.50 (estimated)
Shows good burst and speed with potential on vertical routes. Is a nice, natural runner after the catch and when working in space. Has the size and does a nice job fighting off the jam and getting a nice release. Shows ability to make the first guy miss as a punt returner and get upfield.
Doesn't play with great ball skills and has inconsistent hands. Drops a lot of passes, and doesn't really attack the ball in the air. Can be late reacting off the snap at times and can limit him when he's trying to get position as a blocker. Burst is not as apparent when he works on kickoff returns and not a threat to break the big one. Dances a bit too much at times as a returner.
Paul missed 2 games late in the season due to a broken foot, and playing with Taylor Martinez limited his production. But in the games I saw, he looked like just a guy, and really had a bunch of drops in the Texas game, which is a big reason why Nebraska lost that game. Had his best year as a junior with 40 catches for 796 yards (19.9 avg) and 4 touchdowns. As a senior, his numbers dipped to 39-516-13.2-1. For his career, he also returned 77 kickoffs for an average of 24.5 yards and 2 scores. He also returned 60 punts for 10.8 yard average and a single TD. He had his off-field incidents, with two alcohol-related charges: suspicion of DUI in April 2009, and underage drinking/public urination in 2010. In both instances he was fined and pled guilty to lesser charges.
Paul flashes skills, but I didn't see anything about his game to make me think he's anything more than a backup and a body in the future. He's limited as a return threat and I think he'll only be able to impact at the next level as a punt returner. He has the thick frame and good enough speed that he can be an effective reserve on offense, but I don't see him as anything much more than a decent No. 4 guy that can give you 20-30 grabs a year. His hands are just too inconsistent, and he doesn't have the ball skills to think he can really move in the pros. If he can be an effective cover guy on speical teams, I think he can stick long-term somewhere as a No. 4 guy, but if not then I don't think he brings enough to the table as a returner or receiving threat to last beyond his rookie contract. Ultimately, he might be a journeyman that teams pick up for depth and to challenge in camp, but unless he shines on special teams, I don't see any team keeping him around for more than two or three years as better players come along.
Paul would add depth to the Falcons and if he can perform on special teams coverage, would be a decent option to replace Brian Finneran. But he would probably at best be the No. 4 or No. 5 receiver here in Atlanta. And while he can make some plays down the field, he lacks the hands and ball skills to think you can take advantage of that on a frequent basis. He'd probably be cut by the time his third or fourth summer rolled around.
Paul can add some depth, but the best you can hope for is that he sticks on special teams and his value is only that of a sixth or seventh round pick at best.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
After Catch: 3.0
Body Control: 2.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.