Breaking Down the Redskins Tight End Battle After the 1st Preseason Game
How many tight ends should the Redskins Keep?
Last year the Redskins kept four tight ends to accommodate veteran Fred Davis who they had re-signed for a one year deal in the offseason, to go along with top blocker Logan Paulsen, top special teamer Niles Paul and the rookie Jordan Reed. Though Reed, Paul and Paulsen return, there isn’t a great option to keep for a 4th tight end this year, meaning that the Redskins should only keep three tight ends and look to add more depth elsewhere. That also means that if any other tight end wants a job, they will either need to significantly outplay a Logan Paulsen or Niles Paul or convince the Redskins that keeping a 4th TE is more valuable than a back-up at another position.
Breaking down the Depth Chart:
Number 1 TE: Jordan Reed– Reed is clearly the starter and the top tight end on this team. Though his rookie season was cut short due to injury, Reed had a very impressive campaign and looks like he can be a top 10 (possibly top 5 in the future) receiving tight end in this league. Reed has just okay size, but he makes up for it with impressive speed, athleticism, route running and hands. With Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson major threats on the outside, Reed should have plenty of freedom to work the middle of the field and could see plenty of mismatches as few linebackers will be able to cover him adequately. Given the lack of size among the Redskins receivers, Reed figures to be the number one target near the end zone and could lead the team in touchdown receptions.
Number 2 TE: Logan Paulsen– Paulsen has had an up-and-down career for the Redskins, at times showing nice promise and solid play and then other times proving to be more of a liability and a guy who wasn’t that good of a back-up tight end. Paulsen’s high point was the 2012 season when he not only proved himself to be a strong blocking tight end, helping Alfred Morris set the Redskins rushing record, but he also filled in for Fred Davis as the top receiving tight end. Paulsen didn’t put up great numbers, but his catches and yards per catch were in the ball park of what Davis was producing, minimizing the drop-off in production. Last season Paulsen not only wasn’t nearly as capable as a receiver, but more concerning was how streaky his blocking was. Some games Paulsen looked like he did in 2012, but other games he was below average, which led to more than a few negative plays. Paulsen was dealing with a nagging knee injury for part of the season which could have contributed to some of his issues. While Paulsen is inconsistent, his job is pretty safe given his ability to block and complement Jordan Reed. Hopefully most of Paulsen’s poor play last season was a result of the knee injury and he can once again be an effective blocker in the run game and when he helps in pass protection. Paulsen could also be utilized more in the Red zone this year to give Griffin another big target to get the ball to.
Number 3 TE: Niles Paul- Paul started his career as a wide receiver, but was moved to tight end in his 2nd year. Though the move hasn’t been too effective as he tries to add weight and learn a new position, Paul has shown some improvement from 2012 to 2013. He’s not a great blocker, but has shown signs of being more consistent. As a receiver Paul still has the speed to create mismatches, but he’s struggled with drops in his limited work. The real reason why Paul though isn’t really in danger of losing his job is the fact that he’s probably the Redskins best special teams player. He’s a gunner on both kick and punt coverage units, and he’s done a great job of consistently getting down the field, and making things happen. Not only is Paul one of the leading special teams tacklers, but he’s also drawn multiple holding penalties do to beating his man. Paul is also on both return units typically as the lead blocker for the return man, but he can also be an emergency return man as well. With the Redskins looking to make a concerted effort to improve their special teams, keeping Paul in the mix is a must.
Number 4 TE: Ted Bosler- The Redskins drafted Bosler in the 7th round really as a developmental prospect. He’s not seen as a great receiving tight end and is pretty average overall in that area. What really hurts him is his inability to be a solid blocker. He’s got good size and frame at 6’5″ and 250, but he just has never shown himself to be a good blocker. He completely missed a couple blocks in the first preseason game, showing that he still has a ways to go. One area where Bosler is considered good is his special teams play, but he’s not really a threat to Paul because they have different special teams roles. It’s going to be tough for Bosler to make the team and his best shot is a role on the practice squad.
Number 5 TE: Mike Caussin– The former JMU product has been with both the Jaguars and Bills in previous NFL stops and even saw some time on the active roster with Buffalo back in 2011 when he caught 5 passes. Caussin is known to be a solid blocker and has some special teams ability as well. He’s dealt with some injury issues though, which puts his status well in doubt. He’s missed time in camp this year and missed the first preseason game due to a knee injury. Caussin is still practice squad eligible and could get a look there if he can come back healthy.
Number 6 TE: Matt Veldman– The Redskins just signed Veldman this morning, due in large part to Caussin’s knee injury. He’s kicked around the league the last couple of years, and appeared in one game last season for the Lions. Right now he looks to be just a camp body at this point.