Niles Paul says he believes his transition from wide receiver to tight end has been about as seamless as he could have expected.
“I feel it’s going as smoothly as it can,” Paul said after Thursday’s organized team activities session at Redskins Park. “The passing game stuff is easy for me to pick up on because it’s the same stuff I did as a wide receiver. It’s just I’m getting more comfortable with coming out of a three-point stance and blocking.”
Paul had two catches last season as a rookie wideout, and received some playing time late in the season at tight end. The Redskins informed him this offseason that they’d like to make that move permanent, in an effort to find him a position at which he can thrive in the NFL.
“I was more surprised last year when I played it at the end,” Paul said. “For them to call me and let me know they want to give me a chance, they want to find me a home on the field, I appreciate the opportunity.”
Paul said he has received encouragement from Shannon Sharpe, the Hall of Fame tight end who played for Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan when Shanahan headed the Denver Broncos. Shanahan switched Sharpe from wide receiver to tight end in Denver.
“I think I’m fine at 234 [pounds],” Paul said. “Shannon Sharpe told me he did it at 228. I’m not saying I’m Shannon Sharpe. But I’m saying it gives me hope. . .He basically said this is one of two steps. He said, ‘The next one is out the door. They’re trying to find you a home. Coach Shanahan believes in you enough to find you a home.’ ”
The Redskins have Fred Davis and Chris Cooley at tight end, so it could be difficult for Paul to carve out a meaningful role in the offense for himself in the short term. Even so, he said he appreciates the chance he’s been given.
“They could have just showed me the door. . .I see myself as competing for a job,” Paul said. “I’m going to go out there and compete and hopefully earn myself a position by the end of camp.”
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