An impactful player since his freshman season at Penn State, it was a surprise to scouts when James opted to enter the 2015 draft. He had 78 career receptions, 1,005 yards and 11 touchdowns in three seasons.
James is a well-rounded tight end who became a security blanket for the quarterback with his versatility as a slot receiver and inline tight end. He can effectively play on all three downs with many attributes that will be coveted by NFL evaluators. With his size and firm grasp of blocking principles, James has just one major lingering question - consistency.
STRENGTHS: Underutilized with a diverse skill set to help any NFL team. Good enough speed to present a threat down the seam. Makes the tough catch in traffic without fear. Keeps his feet chopping on contact as a blocker and understands angles and cutback lanes well enough to move and be a second tight end or H-back. Flashes soft hands. Similar in build and skill set to Bills tight end Scott Chandler.
WEAKNESSES: Too often fights the ball. Lacks the burst to be a threat after the catch. Below-average production in college and was invisible in the passing game too often. Limited ability to separate. Post-up receiver whose greatest edge is his height, reach. No wiggle with the ball. Unspectacular overall prospect.
05/05/2015 - A closer look at the Steelers' eight picks: Round 5/160 - Jesse James, TE, 6-7, 261, Penn State...Not used much in the Nittany Lions' passing game, he'll get a chance with the Steelers, especially in the red zone. Not expected, though, to be the heir apparent to Heath Miller. Could become the No. 3 tight end. - The Sports Xchange