Utah linebacker Gionni Paul will participate in a minicamp tryout with the Cincinnati Bengals, according to Utah football's Twitter account. Paul led the Utes in tackles last season with 117 and tackles for loss with 13.5, while adding three sacks, four interceptions and four fumble recoveries.
.@GionniPaul is heading to the @Bengals minicamp!#UtesInTheNFL pic.twitter.com/NA9j5YFO80— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) May 1, 2016
In 2015, Paul earned first team All-Pac-12 honors with the second-best tackle total in the Pac-12, had four interceptions, three fumble recoveries (one for a score) and 12.5 tackles for loss.
Paul played his freshman and sophomore years at University of Miami. His sophomore year at Miami, he started seven games at outside linebacker and finished third on the team with 61 total tackles including 40 solo stops. He was a two-time ACC Linebacker of the Week. After transferring to Utah in 2013, he sat out the year before playing in eight games in 2014 prior to season-ending injury; in 2015, he started all 13 games.
Here's an excerpt from his NFL.com Draft profile:
SOURCES TELL US
"He's small, but he's a good football player. Here's the thing -- he had big off-field issues that helped run him out of Miami, and I think he's a red-flagged character guy pure and simple. Hard to get drafted when you're small and have concerns about your character." -- NFC Pac-12 scout
The scouting community is very concerned with Paul, and he is expected to measure much smaller than his listed size. However, as a pure football player, Paul has outstanding instincts, finds the best path to the football and can be effective against the run or pass. While he may be too small to play inside, his talent should find a roster spot for him at some point.