2011 NFL Draft: Niles Paul, WR, Nebraska (5th Round)
Niles Paul was selected as a wide receiver by Washington at 155 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Nebraska. Paul would go on to play for Washington from 2011-2017.
Never known for his freakish athletic ability or ever being seen as a consistent receiving threat, Paul would eventually switch positions due to his physicality and never-ending toughness. His best season statistically would come as a tight end in 2014. A season in which he totaled 39 receptions for 507 yards and one touchdown.
From the time the former Cornhusker put on the burgundy and gold, he was considered as a core player. Whether it was switching positions, or taking on more roles with the team, he did what he had to do to stay on the roster. At 6-foot-1, 242 pounds, the incredibly tenacious Paul even took on fullback duties.
A memorable play featuring Paul at fullback came from Week 8 of the 2017 NFL season. On a goal-line set against Dallas, he met Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee in the hole and suffered a concussion on what was a vicious hit in the midst of a Rob Kelley one-yard touchdown run. Per the Washington Post at the time, Paul would go on to say after the hit “I’ve never been concussed like that, so it was a bit scary for me.”
For this former late-round pick, Niles Paul earned his way on this list and should be remembered for always being a team-first player. He always did what was necessary to fight for a win. His resume included being a wide receiver, tight end, full back, and special teams captain.