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Washington Redskins Player Profiles: Niles Paul

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Niles Paul is a sleeping giant of 2015 according to Fox Sports' Dan Schneier but can he perform like it?

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Tight End

Height: 6'1  Weight: 241 lbs

College: Nebraska

Drafted: Fifth Round Pick 155th Overall

Niles Paul is a four year man who the Washington Redskins just resigned this offseason. Here are five things to know about him:

#1. Niles Paul is from Omaha, Nebraska and played his high school football at Omaha North High School. He also was an exceptional track and basketball athlete. His football accolades included the following:

  • Lincoln Journal Star second-team all-state
  • Omaha World-Herald all-metro selection
  • Named top 20 receiving prospect in the country by both Rivals.com and Scout.com
  • Paul led the West team in receiving in the U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio.
  • Omaha World-Herald first-team All-Nebraska and first-team All-Metro selection
  • Lincoln Journal Star First-team Super-State
  • Parade All-American
  • Paul won state titles in 110-meter hurdles as a junior and senior, while finishing second in the 300-meter hurdles and fourth in the 100-meter dash as a senior. In 2006 he led the Vikings to the Class A state track title by winning four gold medals.

    On the basketball court, He was one of the best scorers and rebounders in Class A, averaging nearly 19 points and 12 rebounds per game as a senior.

    Paul was a four star recruit in the 2007 class and according to the 247 Sports Composite, he was ranked the No. 20 wide receiver and the No. 2 best player in Nebraska. He received offers from Nebraska, Michigan and Iowa State but chose to play for his home state school. In his senior year, he recorded 46 catches, 814 yards (18 yards per catch) and 13 touchdowns. He was Nebraska's first signee from Omaha North since 1998.

    #2. As a freshman and sophomore at Nebraska (2007 & 2008), he combined for 24 receptions and 220 yards (7.7 yards per catch)  receiving; 42 kick returns, 977 kick return yards (15.8 yards per return) and one touchdown. He recorded 80 punt return yards with a 10 yard average.

    As an upperclassman (2009 & 2010), he recorded 79 catches, 1,312 yards (16.6 yards per catch) and five touchdowns. As a returner, he had 910 kick return yards (26.2 yards per kick return) and 567 punt return yards (11.1 yards per punt return) and one touchdown.  Below are all of his accolades plus highlight film

    • First-Team All-Big 12 Punt Returner (Phil Steele, ESPN.com, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Rivals.com in 2010)
    • Second-Team All-Big 12 Wide Receiver (Coaches in 2010; Kansas City Star,
    • Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Antonio Express-News, Dallas Morning News in 2009)
    • Second-Team All-Big 12 Punt/Kickoff Returner (Coaches in 2010)
    • Honorable-Mention All-Big 12 Punt Returner (AP, Coaches in 2009)
    • Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP (2009)
    • Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week (2008 vs. San Jose State)
    • Paul Hornung Most Versatile Player of the Week (Oct. 23 at Oklahoma St.; 1 of 4)
    • Second-Team Academic All-Big 12 (2008)
    • Big 12 Commissioner’s Spring Academic Honor Roll (2008, 2010)
    • Cletus Fischer Native Son Award

    #3. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins in 2011 and had his best season in 2014 where he caught 39 passes for 507 yards (13 yards per catch) and one touchdown. He re-signed with the team in the offseason on a three year, $10 million dollar deal.

    #4According to CSN Washington's Tarik El-Bashir, Paul wanted to improve on his blocking skills and gaining weight was something that Paul felt would help:

    "I know an area I wanted to improve on a lot was blocking. I was always a willing blocker, but I was 230-pounds going against guys who were 260, 270, 280," said Paul, who weighed 238 pounds in 2014. "I just wanted to level out the playing field a little bit. And it has showed up on film out here [in OTAs]. I’ve been doing a good job."

    He gained 14 pounds and he credits Coach Michael Clark and Redskins executive chef Jon Mathieson:

    "I got to give credit to Coach [Mike] Clark and Chef Jon [Mathieson]. I’ve just been eating a lot of protein and working out. We’re doing a lot of different lifts as compared to [former strength coach Ray Wright]. I loved Ray Wright. I loved his workouts. But we’ve got a different coach now who believes in different stuff. We’re doing a lot of Olympic lifts."

    #5. Fox Sport's Dan Schneier believes Paul could be the sleeping giant of 2015 for Washington:

    "Head coach Jay Gruden has had success utilizing multiple tight end formations in the past with the Bengals, and he could look to leave both Paul and Reed on the field at the same time. Paul can stretch the seams of the field and he offers the Redskins a big target for a team that has a few smaller ones in DeSean Jackson and slot wide receivers Andre Roberts, Jamison Crowder, and Ryan Grant."

    ESPN's John Keim was referenced in Schneier's article saying that despite gaining weight, Paul has not lost speed.

    Bottom Line: Niles Paul had his best season in 2014 and got a new contract as a result. Whose to say he can't become a staple for Washington at tight end in 2015.