Has good hands that is able to consistently catch the ball away from his body. Will use his body to get position on the quick curl. Gives effort as a blocker and can get the seal when working as an inline blocker. Shows ability to get position when working in space as an H-back, and comfortable lining up in the backfield on occasion. Can get to the second level and get a block on a defensive back and contributes well as a downfield blocker when need be. Flashes some athleticism when he has the ball in his hands after the catch.
Not explosive with his movements and not a guy that looks like he can consistently create separation. Will round off his routes and lacks quickness and burst into and out of his breaks as a receiver. Gets a slow release off the line especailly when covered up by a defensive end. Not a guy that has the speed to consistently challenge defenses downfield. As a receiver, he's not always that reliable especially when he gets in traffic or has to make a significant adjustment for a throw. He's an undersized blocker that has inconsistent pop at the point of attack when working as an H-back or inline blocker. He doesn't do a good job holding his blocks and struggles to get leverage against larger defenders.
Paulson was a player that I thought was underrated entering this past year, after what I thought was a solid junior season in Oregon's run to the title. I thought he was underutilized during that year, and was looking forward to seeing if his role was expanded as a senior. But while his production did improve, I did not see what I thought was a better player. He was a very underwhelming blocker at times, and while that was never his strength, he always seemed to be effective more often than not. And as a receiver, he just rarely made any plays like he did seem to make more often when I saw him as a junior. He's a player that I think projects to being an H-back at the pros, that just doesn't do anything well enough to really think he has much upside at the next level. He can contribute as a role player, but he's just not a good enough blocker or dynamic receiver to think he stands out.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/3) vs. LSU: 6 targets, 3 rec., 21 yds (7.0 avg), 7 YAC (2.3 avg), 0 TDs; 1 key block
(10/6) vs. California: 0 targets, 0 rec.; 1 key block
(11/12) at Stanford: 2 targets, 0 rec., 2 drops; 1 missed block
(12/2) vs. UCLA: 6 targets, 2 rec., 42 yds (21.0 avg), 16 YAC (8.0 avg), 1 TDs
(1/2) vs. Wisconsin; 1 target, 1 rec., 10 yds (10.0 avg), 6 YAC (6.0 avg), 0 TDs
2011: 14 GP/13 GS, 31 rec., 438 yds, 14.1 avg, 6 TDs
Paulson projects as a reserve that I think can be decent if he develops and improves. But his ability to stick in the league long-term might be limited without significant improvement. While he's a capable receiver, he's not going to be a guy that is going to be a regular part of the offense. As an outlet receiver that can sneak into the flat or over the middle and make a couple of grabs in a season, he can be effective. But even as a starter, I'd be shocked if he gave a team more than 25-30 receptions in a given year. He really needs to improve as a blocker. He needs to get stronger, and proabbly could stand to put on at least another 10-15 pounds of muscle to try and get better there. Because otherwise, he doesn't bring much to the table. He fits best as an H-back because he's not anywhere close to where you want him to be as an inline tight end. But even when asked to block in space, he's not great. If he can develop his blocking, I think he can make a solid No. 2, but probably more in line with No. 3 talent on a lot of NFL teams. A guy that won't be a regular, but can contribute as a reserve off the bench in certain sets. Oregon has produced a number of solid NFL tight ends over the years from Justin Peelle, George Wrighster, Dante Rosario, to Ed Dickson. But I don't think Paulson is going to be better than any of those guys all of whom were at least solid No. 2 guys if not capable starters. He's just not the blocker that some of those guys are/were, and not the athlete or receiver that others were. The type of NFL career he may have to hope to have is similar to David Thomas, of the Saints. Like Thomas, if Paulson develops he can be a good stopgap option in the event of injury and a decent role player. But I think that's the best that Paulson can be, and would not bet on him becoming that player. More than likely, he's a guy that struggles to stick early on, bounces around the league on a couple of rosters or practice squads, and is out of the league five or so years down the road.
Paulson can come in and compete with Michael Palmer for a job, but I'm not sure he really offers more than what Palmer does. He can potentailly develop as a competent H-back. I think Palmer would have the edge in any competition because of his two years of NFL experience, although probably pound for pound, they are about equal in terms of ability, if Paulson is not slightly better. But like Palmer, I think Paulson's ability to play in Atlanta will revolve predominantly around his ability as a blocker because his ability as a receiver is just so-so. If he can contribute early on special teams, he could land the No. 3 job, and then develop into a decent No. 2 down the road. But better tight ends with more polish or upside would eventually come along, and it's hard seeing Paulson sticking for more than a few years.
For a team looking for a developmental H-back, Paulson might deserve a look in the late rounds, possibly seventh. But because of his lack of ideal upside, he might be more inline with the talent that is a priority free agent. He can definitely play at the NFL level, but there is nothing about him that stands out to make you think he's definitely worth a draft pick.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Body Control: 5.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.