The release of tight end/fullback Jamie McCoy on Monday is a good sign that rookie tight end David Paulson will make the initial 53 man roster. McCoy never impressed at the backup fullback position when given his opportunities after David Johnson was lost for the year after tearing his MCL in the first preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
While Paulson has not been worked at fullback in any of the preseason games, he does have good hands and has played pretty extensively so far on special teams. The Steelers will likely opt to keep him initially on the 53 man roster to serve as the third tight end until Weslye Saunders returns from his early season suspension.
While Paulson does have a ways to go in the blocking department, he can serve as pass catching alternative outside should the Steelers decide to carry only four wide receivers on their initial 53 man roster. When you also consider that running back Chris Rainey can also serve as an emergency receiver, it really makes more and more sense that the Steelers should only carry 4 receivers at least initially due to the thinness of numbers at the linebacker position.
In the 40 games that Paulson played in while at Oregon, he caught 67 passes for 1,041 yards and 10 touchdowns. 55 of those catches came over the course of the last two seasons. Through the Steelers first three preseason games Paulson has caught 3 passes for 17 yards.
Once Saunders returns, the Steelers should have no problems getting Paulson safely through waivers and signed to the practice squad.