The Washington Commanders used one of their two seventh-round picks to take Tulsa offensive lineman Chris Paul. Here are five things you need to know about the newest member of the offensive line, presented by Grubhub.
1. He's involved in initiatives supporting student-athletes.
Paul had a successful career at Tulsa, but his off field endeavors are just as interesting as what he was able to do on it.
In his four-year stay with Tulsa was part of several initiatives for the NCAA, including the NCAA's Division I Football Oversight Committee; the American Athletic Conference's representative to the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee; and the NCAA Board of Governors Committee to Promote Cultural Diversity and Equity (CPCDE).
"One of the things I love about football is how much it provides for me and the opportunities it gives me, not only on the field, but off the field as well," Paul said. "Just being a student-athlete at Tulsa truly maximized my college experience."
There are several reasons behind Paul being involved in so many committees. He wanted to improve the experiences of the 7,000 student-athletes in the AAC and break down barriers on inclusion and diversity.
It's important, Paul said, for athletes to be involved in initiatives off the field because it helps community service and engagement overall.
"This is the community that supports you, so you should be involved in it and use your platform in a good way," Paul said.
2. He brings position flexibility.
Any member of the Commanders' offensive line is expected to play multiple positions, and Paul, who was a four-year starter at Tulsa, certainly qualifies for that.
Paul was an immediate contributor for Tulsa, appearing in all 12 games during his freshman season, including eight as the team's starting right guard. Paul was then moved to left guard to start his sophomore year, where he started the entire season.
Paul then moved positions again for his junior year, this time to right tackle. It was at this position where he earned the most accolades. He was a two-time all-conference selection and even spent one game at left tackle during his senior year.
Paul's position flexibility has already earned praise from Ron Rivera.
"With the position flex, being able to play either guard and playing tackle, you feel very comfortable that this is a young guy that can come in."
3. He has a music career.
The off field interests continue to pile up for Paul, because he's referred to by another name when he's not blocking defensive tackles: he's known as The Seventh, and he used that identity for his musical career.
Music has always been part of Paul's life. He used to hum a lot as a baby, and when his parents asked his doctors what it meant, they said that Paul was musically inclined. He started "pouring into music" as he got older, and he even made tracks that he began releasing in 2020.
As for The Seventh nickname, that refers back to music as well. There are several chords, and his is the dominant seventh. He even released a single and a music video under the name with Tulsa running back Corey Taylor as his executive producer.
"It's kind of able to showcase me in a light that no one has ever seen before," Paul said. "And so that's one of the most powerful things about music. And then with the project as a whole taking something that might be darker, that might be different and really turning it into something beautiful."
Take a look at the Washington Commanders' draft class getting fitted for equipment during the first day of rookie minicamp. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)
4. He gets asked about his name a lot.
You may have noticed that Paul's name sounds a little familiar. And yes, he gets asked about it a lot.
"There might be another [person] named Chris Paul," Paul joked to the media. "I think he plays basketball. I'm not sure."
The attention on his name doesn't surprise Paul. He knew it was going to come up during his evaluation, but he has fun with the fact that there's now a Chris Paul in the NFL. He's actually one of three rookies with the same name as an NBA player, including Seattle's Coby Bryant and Cleveland's Isaiah Thomas.
He also has the right mindset about how to use it to his advantage.
"It's also very marketable," Paul said. "So it will be funny, and I look forward to seeing what comes of it from that standpoint."
5. He'll have time to develop.
There's no pressure for Paul to contribute right away for the Commanders. Most of the offensive line has been set, and they recently signed veteran Trai Turner to shore up the left guard position.
With that said, Paul will be asked to play at some point. After all, the Commanders had to use multiple backups last season. So, Paul will need to soak up as much information as possible.
"He will play," Rivera said. "That's just the way it is in this league. Guys that you don't expect to put on the field right away, end up on the field right away."