When the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft came around and the Pittsburgh Steelers were on the clock, many were hoping it would be Penn State tight end Jesse James’ name being called. Need and value yet again lined up for the Steelers and James was drafted.
#18 – Jesse James/ TE Penn State: 6070, 261lbs
Career (2012-2014): 35 games, 78 receptions for 1005 yards (12.9 avg) and 11 touchdowns
2014: 13 games, 38 receptions for 396 yards (10.4 avg) and 3 touchdowns
After registering five touchdowns in 2012, and three in 2013, James looked to improve on these numbers but was not used as a receiving threat in the Nittany Lion’s offense. James registered three touchdowns in 2014 and I will be showing you all three below with GIFs:
James is lined up outside (top of the GIF) and runs a simple go route to the pylon and with his 6’7” frame, is able to use his long arms to win a jump ball by high pointing the football against a 6’1” defensive back. This is similar to how the Steelers would use him. He is a red zone threat and can be an asset in the passing game.
Lined up as a receiver in the bunch formation, James runs a simple curl route short of the goal line. James catches the ball a few yards short of the goal line and uses his size and strength to muscle his way to earning six points for his team.
James is lined up as an inline tight end. Runs a simple rounded corner route and isn’t accounted for. Makes a great over the shoulder hands-catch and out runs the potential tacklers.
Here is that same touchdown in a different angle:
Not many touchdowns produced by James, but it’s just how the Nittany Lions used him. Only averaging a tad under 3 receptions per game (2.9), it’s difficult to be productive. The recently drafted tight end will need to show some athleticism and ability to use his size to be a red zone threat to make an impact in 2015. He will likely battle 2014 7th round draft pick Rob Blanchflower for a spot on the 53 man roster.