The true test of a player’s ability won’t come for another month when training camp commences and preseason games kickoff. But tight ends coach James Daniel seems excited about the progress rookie Jesse James is making.
“Jesse has good knowledge of the game. He picks the game up pretty well. I have seen some things. He has enough athletic ability to be able to do things. It’s all waiting until we get to training camp because that is when we actually start playing football,” he told Steelers.com reporter Teresa Varley.
The rookie flashed that athleticism at the NFL Combine with a 37.5 inch vertical and 10 foot one inch broad jump, incredibly impressive measurables for a 6’7 , 261 pound frame. It’s always encouraging to hear a rookie, especially a young one like James who left a year early, understand the playbook.
James is not assured of a roster spot but will enter camp with the edge on the #3 TE spot over Rob Blanchflower, who may already be struggling to stay healthy. Should James win the job, most of his contributions will come on special teams but his size makes him an intriguing red zone threat in goal line packages.