Photo of Jesse James
Drafted By: Steelers

Combine Results

5.18 ?
  • 4.83 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 26 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 37.5 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 121.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 4.50 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 12.15 SEC
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Combine Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

Staying local with this pick, the Steelers find a large tight end with a similar body type and skill set as Matt Spaeth, their aging number two tight end. They likely see him as a developmental subpackage weapon for their 12 personnel (2 tight ends) sets. --Mark Dulgerian

  • 6'7" Height
  • 33" Arm Length
  • 261LBS. Weight
  • 9 3/8" Hands


In 2014, named honorable mention All-Big Ten. Set school record by a tight end with 11 career touchdown receptions. Started every game in 2013. In 2012, played in 11 and started six, while hauling in five touchdown passes. Named team captain for three years in high school and was named second-team All-State his senior season. Is Director of Marketing for Uplifting Athletes and helped to raise more than $150,000 for kidney cancer in 2013-2014.

Pro Day Results

40-yard dash: 4.66 and 4.71 seconds



Long frame with room for more muscle. Flashed some straight-line speed in space. Shows a feel for when he comes open in the seam and will turn quickly to find the throw. Can make the occasional spectacular, one-handed catch. Works to the open space against zone coverage. Not content to stand in space. Continues to maneuver around within his area to uncover and present an open target to the quarterback. Can go up and over smaller defenders in red zone as a split end.


Sluggish off the release and runs somewhat labored and mechanical routes, getting very limited separation against man coverage. Play demeanor lacks desired fire and aggressiveness. Does just enough as a run blocker. Doesn't handle power and movement in space as well as he needs to as a blocker. Gets hung up against jams at line of scrimmage and against physical defenders within his routes. Will try to run through defender rather than adjusting route. Inconsistent adjusting to poorly thrown balls and making the tough catch.

Draft Projection

Round 5 or 6

NFL Comparison

Phillip Supernaw

Bottom Line

Big, in-line tight end with room on his frame for more muscle, but he's limited by a lack of functional athleticism and a mechanical play demeanor. James isn't a plus receiver with great hands and he lacks the quickness to consistently free himself from man coverage, so he must become a more determined run blocker in order to have a shot at starting in the NFL.
-Lance Zierlein
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.