A year ago, the Redskins had a lot of questions surrounding their TEs. Many were hoping that Fred Davis would finally put his past problems behind him and emerge as a consistent threat. Logan Paulsen was coming off of a promising 2012 season as Davis's replacement. Jordan Reed was an unknown quantity as a third round draft pick. There was still hope that Niles Paul would continue his transition from WR to TE and be a threat in the passing game.
Now we know that Fred Davis has pretty much put the finishing touches on his NFL career. Logan Paulsen isn't really an every down TE. Niles Paul emerged as a great special teamer. Jordan Reed is a monster receiving threat that is almost impossible to cover 1 on 1. The Redskins only questions at TE now are will Jordan Reed be able to overcome his concussion problems from 2013 and is Ted Bolser good enough to play in the NFL.
Jordan Reed was an amazing addition to the Redskins passing game in 2013. His 45 receptions for 499 yards and 3 TDs are excellent numbers for a rookie. When you add in the fact that he posted those numbers in about half a season, those numbers become extraordinary for a rookie or anyone else. Reed has an amazing ability to make himself a good target for the QB. His work ethic helped him improve as a run blocker in training camp & through the season. If Reed continues his upward trajectory, it is easy to imagine him doubling his numbers in 2014. The only real obstacle is the dearth of talent the Redskins have at WR. Projecting forward I see Reed with about 80 catches for 950 yards and 8 TDs.
Logan Paulsen is entrenched as the #2 TE in Washington. He isn't a major threat in the passing game but he will most likely be over-looked whenever he is involved in a play from scrimmage do to who is on the field with him. Paulsen caught 28 passes for 267 yards with 3 TDs in 2013. 15 of those receptions came in the last 5 games when Reed was shut down for the season. Extrapolating those numbers over 16 games and he would have almost 50 catches which would be a decent season. Paulsen had a similar stretch over weeks 7-9 in 2012 when he had 13 catches for 178 yards so he can get the job done when called upon.
Niles Paul will make the Redskins roster as a special teams gunner and is not likely to see much time at TE. Even with Reed and Davis missing multiple games in 2013, Paul managed only 4 receptions for 51 yards. He had twice that many in 2012 with 8 for 152 which is an excellent 19 yards per catch. It seemed that the Shanahans were trying to work Paul into the offense more in 2012 as his 8 catches were spread over 6 games.
Ted Bolser must live up to his special teams reputation in order to make the Redskins 53 man roster. Bolser will be given a shot as a backup TE as well particularly as a redzone threat. He nabbed 6 TDs for Indiana in his senior season of college football and had 15 over his 4 year career. What is puzzling about Bolser at Indiana is that his ypr went down every year from 15.1 as a freshmen to 9.1 in 2013. His 6'6" height does make him a big target. Bolser should make the 8 man practice squad and be given a chance to develop into an NFL TE.
Gabe Miller is the Redskins 5th TE. He is mostly a training camp body and will not have much of a chance to make the team. Miller was drafted in the 5th round in 2011 by Kansas City but has not caught a single pass in the NFL. His only season listed with any receptions at Oregon State was in 2007 with only 8 catches.
In conclusion, Jordan Reed will be the starter and star for the Redskins with Paulsen seeing some action in 2 TE sets and Niles Paul limited action at TE.
This is the 4th in a series previewing the 2014 Redskins by position. Next week: the offensive line.