David Paulson’s window of opportunity was wide open when Pittsburgh’s top two tight ends were injured at the beginning of the 2013 regular season. The second-year tight end was the Steelers’ starter at the position by default, and playing time was his to lose for however long it would take Miller to return to the lineup.
Unfortunately for Paulson, he has largely failed to capitalize on the myriad of opportunities which he received during the absences of Miller and Spaeth. From his run-blocking being inconsistent to the fact that he was a “ghost” in Pittsburgh’s passing game (five catches for 72 yards), the former Oregon Duck has been largely relegated to the bench as of late. Even on his best play of the season, Paulson was stripped of the football after a 34 yard catch-and-run in Cincinnati.
According to Scott Brown of ESPN.com, Paulson’s performance this fall has done little to inspire faith in Pittsburgh’s coaching staff who demoted Paulson to third-string below Miller and Michael Palmer who was acquired earlier this year to provide some added depth. Now number three on the depth chart, the former seventh round pick might be on his way out of Pittsburgh by the time next season begins.
While Miller still has some solid seasons left in him, the tight end position will likely be one which the Steelers’ brass try to upgrade during the spring and summer months. Granted, tight end might not be the team’s biggest need to fill, but it definitely will be in their top three to four positions to target during draft season.
The clock could be ticking for Paulson over the coming months, and it is looking like he will have to shine down the stretch if he wishes to stick with Pittsburgh beyond this season.
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