The Pittsburgh Steelers won’t begin training camp for a little less than two more weeks, so I thought we would spend these last several days talking about a few players that many believe will have a decent shot at making the final 53 man roster. Basically, these are players that we can’t quite consider locks, but do consider as being on the bubble.
After reading the recap of the player that we highlight, you can cast your vote as to whether or not you think that player will make the final 53 man roster. Each poll will run for three days.
The eighth player up in this series is third-year tight end David Paulson.
2013 Season Recap:
Paulson actually opened the 2013 season as the Steelers No. 1 tight end for the first two games being as veteran Heath Miller was still finishing up rehabbing his surgically repaired knee and backup Matt Spaeth being out on injured reserve with a Lisfranc injury. It didn’t take long for Paulson to show that the role was too big for him and it started in the second game of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals with a fumble following a big 34-yard catch that would have set the Steelers offense up inside the red zone. While the turnover only happened late in the first quarter, it wound up being a big turning point in the game as the Bengals drove the field to take a 7-3 lead.
Once Miller returned to action in Week 3, Paulson became the No. 2 tight end and that role didn’t suit him well, either, as his run blocking wasn’t very good. His poor play eventually resulted in him losing snaps to Michael Palmer until Spaeth returned to action late in the season and at that point his primary role was on special teams. The highlight of Paulson’s 2013 season came in the Week 16 game against the Green Bay Packers when he caught a 30-yard pass from punter Mat McBriar on a fake punt in the third quarter. He ended the season with just six receptions for 102 yards.
With Miller and Spaeth now back healthy, Paulson really has his work cut out for him in training camp this year as he must not only beat out Palmer, but also rookie Rob Blanchflower for a spot on the final 53 man roster. Blanchflower has good upside as an all-around tight end and will be tough to beat out. Paulson has no room for error and must finally show this year that he can run block. In addition, the Oregon product really needs to make some plays on special teams during the preseason in order to endear himself to coach Danny Smith. There’s a good chance that the Steelers will only keep three true tight ends this year, so you can see the tough road that Paulson faces.
Vote below and tell us the reason why you voted the way that you did in the comments below.