Sports

Steelers take Auburn's Paulson in the NFL Draft

David Paulson was a force in the Ducks
David Paulson was a force in the Ducks' wide-open offense.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Oregon tight end David Paulson, an Auburn Riverside High School graduate, in the seventh round of the NFL Draft on Saturday.

The 6-foot-4, 241-pound Paulson had 31 receptions for 438 yards and six touchdowns during his senior season with the Ducks. He was a second-team, All-Pac-12 performer for the 2011 season, and a three-time, first-team all-academic Pac-12 selection.

Paulson, the 240th player chosen in the three-day draft, joins a tight end position that includes veterans Heath Miller, Weslye Saunders and Leonard Pope.

The Steelers expect to take advantage of Paulson's versatility, perhaps use him in an H-back role.

"He's a tight end that has played in a multiple offense," said Steelers tight ends coach James Daniel.  "He has done some in-line stuff, some backfield stuff and some slot stuff. He's a guy that has some talent and some position flexibility for us.

"He can catch, block in-line and block in the backfield. He can block in the slot," Daniel said. "He's been playing in the Oregon offense, which is as wide open as any offense in college football right now. There have been some tight ends that have come out of that offense that are playing in the league right now. The kid in Baltimore (Ed Dickson) played in that offense. They have had some success."

Paulson is willing to take on the challenge.

"I have experience in a lot of different things," he said. "I've lined up in the backfield, in the slot, played some H-back, some true tight end, so I'm experienced in a lot of different things.  I'm excited to take that to the next level."

As a Duck, Paulson finished his collegiate career with 67 receptions for 1,041 yards and 10 scores. He. capped his career with one catch for 10 yards in Oregon's 45-38 victory over Wisconsin in the Jan. 2 Rose Bowl. The Ducks (12-2) finished fourth in the polls. Oregon won its third consecutive conference title.

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