Practices are good for repetition, but Niles Paul knew he needed actual game situations for feedback on his transition to tight end.
And now with two preseason games under his belt, Paul, a converted wide receiver, said his confidence is slowly increasing.
That confidence level hit a high mark Saturday night in the fourth quarter of the Redskins' preseason game against the Chicago Bears, when Paul caught his first career touchdown.
"It felt good, man," Paul said with a smile. "I didn't know what to do when I got in the end zone, but I was very excited to get my first NFL touchdown."
Paul's touchdown reception was actually set up late in the third quarter. He caught two Kirk Cousins passes -- the second of which a 10-yard reception as the clock expired -- that set up the Redskins at the Chicago 21-yard line.
After a couple Tristan Davis runs and a 9-yard reception by Aldrick Robinson, the Redskins faced a 1st-and-goal from the 5-yard line. Cousins took the snap and rolled out, threw across his body to find Paul in the corner of the end zone for the score.
The play was the first of three unanswered touchdowns for the Redskins, sparking a 21-0 run that gave them a 31-30 lead late in the game.
Despite the loss, Paul was encouraged by the fight he saw in his teammates.
"You know what? It was incredible," Paul said of the comeback. "We had Kirk out there slinging the rock, we had [Aldrick Robinson] out there making big plays. Everybody had the same mindset: even though it was the preseason, we wanted to win this game.
Paul said he was exhausted after playing the entire game on offense and on special teams.
He said the biggest confidence boost of the night didn't necessarily come from running routes and catching passes, but when he found himself blocking big defensive linemen.
"I'm starting to realize week-by-week that I can go out here and block these big guys," Paul said. "It's all about getting in the mindset, getting in the pads and just doing it."