A considerably bigger, stronger TE Niles Paul reported to Redskins training camp this season, carrying roughly 27 additional pounds of muscle to complement the fierce work ethic he already was known for in the weight room and on the practice field.
Redskins Coach Jay Gruden has rewarded Paul by naming him the team’s starting tight end, vaulting him ahead of the frequently injured Jordan Reed, on the unofficial depth chart that was released in the run-up to Thursday’s preseason opener at Cleveland.
Competing last year at 225 pounds, Paul had the most productive season of his NFL career, catching 39 passes while Reed was in and out of the lineup with hamstring ailments. In the offseason, Paul worked closely with the Redskins’ executive chef and the team’s new strength and conditioning coach Mike Clark, to raise his game. He also improved his eating habits. It will be interesting to see if Paul can do enough to keep the job. So far, he's putting in the time and it's paying off.