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49ers release TE Niles Paul; claim TE Daniel Helm

So much for the Shanahan/Paul connection

It feels like yesterday that the San Francisco 49ers claimed Niles Paul. Here we are a week later, and the Niners have released Paul, per Field Yates. That was the corresponding move, as the team claimed tight end Daniel Helm from the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Chargers waived Helm on Thursday, so the front office must have seen something during the scouting process in Helm that they admired to claim him. Here’s the scouting report from on the 6-foot-4 tight end:


Fluid athlete with adequate frame and long arms

Capable move blocker with agility and body control to adjust to and strike moving targets

Good transition to catch defender and immediately run feet to generate movement

Able to stay in front of his work as run and pass blocker

Uses good footwork, low pad level and explosive hips into his initial contact

Smooth climber up to second level and zeroes in on his assignments as blocker in space

Willing to attack when iso-blocks arise

Trusted to handle pass protection duties from time to time

Plays with sudden feet that take him in and out of breaks with quickness

Has adequate separation quickness in tight quarters

Plays with necessary bend for sharp pivots and tight route turns

Desired catch radius to pluck high and wide throws.


Might lack play strength to handle full-time run-blocking duties against NFL base ends

Needs to play with a more sudden punch to prevent opponents from displacing hands

Appears to desire base strength to handle speed-to-power rushers

Pass-catching production doesn’t match athletic talent

Displays inconsistent play speed in his routes

Tape shows tendency to cut some routes short

Needs to run through the catch-point and finish each route with more urgency

Plagued by focus drops at times over last two seasons.

This is a good example of the Niners improving the bottom of their roster.

Helm played his college ball at Duke after transferring from Tennesee. He finished his career with 75 receptions for 804 yards, and six touchdowns. In 2018 he was third-team all ACC.