Report: Penn State TE Jesse James Scheduled To Visit With Steelers

Penn State tight end Jesse James has several visits and workouts scheduled with teams ahead of the 2015 NFL Draft and according to Tony Pauline of draftinsiders.net, the Pittsburgh Steelers are on his calendar.

James, who registered 38 catches for 396 yards and three touchdowns last season, is from Glassport, PA, so his visit isn’t likely count against the 30 the Steelers are allowed to have prior to the draft.

James started 31-of-36 games at Penn State and caught a total of 78 passes for 1,005 yards and eleven touchdowns, having hauled in 64.46% of the passes targeted to him, according to scout Dave-Te Thomas.

James also was an effective blocker at Penn State as he was credited with 261 knockdowns/key blocks and 27 touchdown-resulting blocks in those 36 games that he played in. Last season he was a Mackey Award semi-finalist.

After measuring in at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine at 6-7, 261-pounds, James ran a 4.89 second 40-yard dash time with a 1.66 second 10-yard split. He posted a 4.37 second 20-yard shuttle time and a 32-inch vertical jump. He also bench pressed 225 pounds 28 times. He has 33 1/8-inch arms and 10 1/4-inch hands.

Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley was present at the Penn State Pro Day last month.

The Steelers appear set to draft a tight end this year and have already had several in for pre-draft visits.

  • Nick

    As a Penn Stater, I would love to have James. I just question how good of a receiver he can be. I would love to see him be a 50 catch a year guy for this team for 8-10 years. Along with his blocking, he can be effective.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    He might end up being amazing and blocking is essential for the Steelers. Too bad he keeps moving up draft boards.

  • Paddy

    Don’t think they even think a TE is draft worthy this year, plenty of TE will be available as free agents. Same with RBs

  • LucasY59

    like him the best of the TE’s this year (Maxx if he didnt require a 1st, and Heuerman as the #3 on my list) hope he is available in the 3rd, and would really like him as a 4th since his speed didn’t time very well and he might not be as good of a pass catcher as some of the others, I really like his size (for the redzone) and blocking

  • puCrepeaP

    I’m game. I feel our first 3 picks have to be Def. OLB, CB, CB. But after that, I’d feel comfortable with James in the 4th.

  • Sabbie

    I would not be upset if we took him in the 4th!

  • steelmann58

    i really think we see a TE anywhere from round 4-6

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    He looked good at the combine doing the ‘gauntlet’. I don’t think he dropped one ball (unless they run it several times and I missed one of his turns).
    I think given his blocking/pass catching combo, as well as the Steelers lack of emphasis on TE (say as opposed to SD, others), he could very well be a later round pick for us.
    If he was there in the 5th, I would def consider taking him.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I disagree. Nothing personal, but I will bet you any amount of money you want that we will draft at least one TE this year?

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I fear that we are going to overdraft a TE this year.

    We should have taken Tyler Eifert TE over Uncle Jarvis OLB two years ago (even though both of them got hurt). Now our backs are against the wall and we’re forced to draft a solid prospect in a year of weak prospect options.

    I think it’s going to be either James or Heuerman. (For a bunch of reasons I won’t go into now.) And I think Colbert is going to reach a little by snagging one in the 3rd round. Just my feeling.

  • puCrepeaP

    Sabs!

  • Superdriller316

    I thought he said in an interview weeks back that he’s trying to model his game after HEEEEATH. Hopefully that’s a good sign.

  • RASTA

    And while I agree with you that we will probably add UDFA’s at both of those positions after the draft, I also believe we will be adding both of those positions during the draft too; plus more linemen than people think imho.

    Go Steelers!

  • steelerfan

    Steeler nation, James is the biggest, strongest and fastest tight end in draft and unlike Williams and Wolford content with 40 time at combine and both chose not to run 40 at pro day, James ran 4.66/40 at Penn State pro day…also, unlike FSU and other Big 10 schools that threw 10+ times per game to TE’s, PSU threw 3-4 times…!! Good luck waiting in mid rounds, James won’t be available..!

  • Superdriller316

    I hope the Steelers get him.

  • Reno

    It’s funny you mentioned Eifert over Jones two years ago. You are the first I have seen to mention that and I feel the same way. I have been reluctant to mention it not knowing the book on him right now and his lack of production over two years. I’m guessing it was a combination of being hurt and stuck behind Gresham. Their offense seems geared to many throws to the WR, RB out of the backfield, and utilizing 1 TE in the passing game. I thought he was the BPA on the board at the time. I would not be surprised if he had a breakout year with Gresham gone.

  • TsarPepe

    Yes, the beauty of hindsight! But remember these things: 1) the Steelers needed a pass rusher; 2) they didn’t really need a TE back then, it would have been a luxury pick; 3) Jones was considered a top-5 candidate if not for his medical condition; 4) Eifert was expected to go somewhere in the 20s (as it happened). With these facts in mind, no person in their right mind would have picked Eifert over Jones when our turn came @ 17.

  • steelster

    I’m just not very high on James. He doesn’t seem very athletic. I think he will be a good backup te like matt spaeth.

  • Reno

    I agree with your point about hindsight but my pick was Eifert first and Jones second if Eifert was gone. You can choose whether to believe me or not.

    And lets not get too carried away like it would have been so far fetched. The Steelers have always modeled themselves at taking the BPA as they did the year before with DeCastro. Any person in their right mind would have given strong consideration to Eifert with the pick.

    I’m sure there were other teams before #17 that needed a pass rusher too and they elected to pass on Jones. Combine his medical condition and his poor pro day and no combine workout it knocked him out of the top 10 by the time the draft rolled around. Eifert went at #21 four picks later to a team that didn’t need a TE either at the time, They drafted Woodley in the 2nd round and he turned out to be a very good player before his injuries. Who is to say they couldn’t have addressed it in the 2nd round.

  • NinjaMountie

    I second that!!

  • H.K. northern cali

    I wound’nt mind him in the 4-5th range. Heath m. replacement will be drafted next yr in round 1 or 2!!

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Reno –

    The book on Eifert is the Bengals drafted him when they already had two TE’s in front of him (Gresham being the better one). Then they geared their offense mostly around Andy Dalton’s strength, which is quick release check down passes. So he didn’t get a lot of targets. Then Eifert got hurt for most of the next year (which was just bad luck. He’s not injury prone).

    I expect a much bigger year from Eifert this coming year. But regardless of that, remember back to the pre-draft evaluations. Eifert was strongly praised as having the best/strongest hands in the draft. He also ran a 4.68 forty and jumped 36″ vert and 10′ broad. That is the TYPE of guy you draft in the mid 1st.

    Meanwhile Jarvis’ fastest time was a 4.88 forty with a 30″ vert and 9′ broad. Regardless of his college stats you have to ask yourself, is this the type of athlete you feel will succeed in the NFL. Do his skill sets scream “value” as a mid first round pick?

    I mean, for me to draft an OLB at 1.17 who runs a 4.88, he better show the best damn pass rush technique/moves I’ve ever seen. And Jarvis never showed that. He put up great stats playing on a great defense at UGA, benefiting from other’s double teams.

    I’m hoping Jarvis improves. I’m rooting for him. But this is exactly why don’t a 1st round CB just because you need a CB badly. We needed an OLB but we reached for an average one. Hopefully we don’t repeat that mistake this year.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    1) True. We needed an OLB badly. But what about teams that need a QB badly? Do you draft the best QB available in the 1st round even if he’s a 2nd round talent? No. You wait for value in the 2nd or 3rd round. (Example: Corey Lemonier, OLB, 49ers)

    2) Not true. Heath Miller was out with an ACL. He missed the first 4 games that year (where Eifert would’ve started). We went 0-4 with an anemic offense. Eifert would’ve helped with that. If we had won just one of those four games we would’ve made the playoffs. And we could’ve rotated Eifert with Heath going forward.

    3) Sort of true. Jones was considered a top 5 candidate early on. And the fear of his “spinosis” medical condition did drop his stock slightly. The bigger drop came from fear of his “never works out in the gym” medical condition, which contributed to his very weak explosion numbers. That is why a lot teams passed.

    4) Debatable. Everyone has their own opinion. Media draft pundits had Jarvis ranging anywhere from the early teens to the mid twenties. But that is not his true value. It’s the NFL GM’s opinions that really count. And obviously the other teams did not have him rated in the early teens. Otherwise they would’ve picked him. Colbert did. That was his error in evaluation.

    Just like some media pundits had LeVeon Bell ranked as a 3rd round prospect. But Colbert had him as a mid 2nd round prospect. In that case Colbert was right. And the media were wrong. It’s debatable. But to say nobody in their right mind would have Eifert above Jarvis is inaccurate (in my opinion).

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    H.K. –

    That is a very interesting theory. And one that I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately. What if the Steelers are only looking for a depth TE this year? And waiting until next year to draft a true dual threat stud TE in the 1st or 2nd round?

    That would make sense. Because whoever they draft this year is never going to start (in 2015) anyways, unless Heath gets injured. So what would his role be?

    If the rookie shocked everyone and over performed… Great… He’s our new starter going forward in 2016. If he develops more slowly… That’s fine too… Since drafted him for depth. He got a head start on his back up role and he’s cheap.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Nick –

    The thing I like about a guy like James is… At least he has a CHANCE to surprise you. With some of these guys (like Jordan Zumwalt) you KNOW they’re only going to be average players. You’re hoping they are solid back ups. That is their ceiling.

    James has the raw talent and raw athletic skills to beat guys physically. If he learns the technique.. Great… You got a steal. If he doesn’t… Oh well… he’s a decent back up and you only burned a 4th rounder.

    These are the types of developmental guys we should be drafting IMO.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    And there lies the issue. If you draft James in the 5th round… Fantastic.

    But if you draft him in the 3rd… Now you’re passing up potentially passing up a CB like Ifo Epkre Olumo, who projects to be a dominating slot CB at the NFL level.

    I honestly believe/fear the Steelers are going to overdraft a TE in the 3rd or 4th round this year. And there’s nothing we fans can do about it.

  • Antwon

    I think James could be like the Gronk of Pittsburgh with the right guidance and coaching he could be the Overkill for opposing defenses you can’t stop the Best receiver in the NFL ,2 top tier receivers a future Hall of fame tight end An MVP Caliber running back A future Hall fame quarterback and young and hungry oline nd An explosive 6’7″ rookie tight end too many weapons to gameplan against

  • steelburg

    I hope it’s not one of them in the 3rd. I would much rather them take Clive Walford in the 2nd or 3rd. I think he is the best TE in this draft. We need a difference maker at the position to help us in redzone situations and to help take the offense to another level because we will be leaning on them early. TE is really the only skill position on offense that needs a upgrade not because Heath is ineffective but because he is no longer a viable threat in the redzone. I don’t think we get a difference maker with James or Heuermam. It has to be either Walford or Maxx I personally prefer Walford.

  • Jim Foles

    The way the NFl is now, the defense can barely touch a player, draft Max Williams 1st keep loading up the offense in the draft as needed RB, WR and win with ben and a high powered offense. Patch the D with FA later…

  • ATL96STEELER

    Really?

    NE did not have a dominating DEF, but they did have two pro bowl caliber CBs, a great S, and some edge pressure.

    Don’t get me wrong…Idt the OFC is complete either…they could use another WR to fill the possession role….a younger TE would be great, but they need better than patchwork on the back end of that DEF. They must get bigger, more athletic @ CB and they have to find some edge pressure to really be a legit contender imo.

  • Jim Foles

    NE had FA Cornerbacks

  • Jim Foles

    also, the new CB will not play for 2 years, ben is getting old and fast now.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Yeah…premium ones…when has PIT spent that kind of $ on 1 FA?…much less 2.

  • ATL96STEELER

    idk about that under Butler…I think the 1st rd pick (top 3 CBs off the board) is going to play…Blake is not a lock for nickle and Allen is not a lock period…worst case snaps in dime this season imo.

  • Reno

    Thanks SSS. A lot of good information and good points. You also refreshed my memory for part of the reason of wanting Eifert over Jones in addition to his talent. Miller was coming off the injury and as you said wasn’t expected to contribute until around game 5. As it turned out he wasn’t really fully recovered until this past season but has clearly lost a step. I would not be surprised if this is his last year. Hopefully, they don’t reach for one in the 3rd or 4th. It certainly appears they are going to draft one.

  • Axe Skot

    Lots of TE’s visiting the Steelers. History says, given that fact, they’ll be drafting one.