American Football Database
American Football Database
Jesse James
refer to caption
James with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015
No. 83 – Detroit Lions
Position:Tight end
Personal information
Born: (1994-06-04) June 4, 1994 (age 27)
Glassport, Pennsylvania
Height:6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Weight:261 lb (118 kg)
Career information
High school:South Allegheny
(McKeesport, Pennsylvania)
College:Penn State
NFL Draft:2015 / Round: 5 / Pick: 160
Career history
* Pittsburgh Steelers ( 2015 2018)
Roster status:Active
Career NFL statistics as of 2018
Receiving yards:1,189
Receiving touchdowns:9
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Jesse Dylan James (born June 4, 1994) is an American football tight end for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Penn State, and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Early years

James attended South Allegheny Middle/Senior High School in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.[1] where he was a two-time Second-team All-State selection in both football and basketball.[2] He was named First-team All-Century Conference as a tight end for both his junior and senior seasons.[2] Over the two seasons he recorded 71 receptions for 1,030 yards and 10 touchdowns.[2] For his final three seasons, he was named a team captain.[2] He was invited to play in the Semper-Fidelis All-American game.[2] He was also named to the 2011 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fabulous 22.[2]

MaxPreps rated him as the nation's No.3 tight end as a senior.[2] He was rated by as a three-star recruit.[3] He committed to Penn State University to play football.[4]

College career

James began attending Penn State in 2012. He played in 12 games as a true freshman in 2012, with six starts. He recorded 15 receptions for 276 yards and tied a school record with five receiving touchdowns by a tight end.[2] As a sophomore in 2013, James started all 12 games and recorded 25 receptions for 333 yards and three touchdowns.[5][6] During his junior season in 2014, James broke the school's record for career touchdowns by a tight end, passing Ted Kwalick's 10.[7] For the season, he recorded 38 receptions for 396 yards and three touchdowns.

After his junior season, James entered the 2015 NFL Draft.[8][9] He finished his career at Penn State with 76 receptions for 1,005 yards and 11 touchdowns.[10]

Career statistics

Season Receiving Fumbles
Year Team GP GS Tgt Rec Yds Avg TD Lng Fum Lost
2012 Penn St. 12 6 -- 15 276 18.4 5 42 -- --
2013 Penn St. 12 12 -- 25 333 13.3 3 58 -- −-
2014 Penn St. 10 -- -- 38 396 10.4 3 -- -- --
Career 34 -- -- 78 1,005 12.9 11 58 -- --

Professional career

Coming out of Penn State, James was projected to be drafted anywhere from the fourth to sixth round by the majority of NFL analysts and scouts. He received an invitation to the NFL Combine and completed all of the required drills and positional workouts.[11] On March 19, 2015, James attended Penn State's annual Pro Day and succeeded in lowering his times in the 40, 20, and 10-yard dash from the combine. He also performed positional drills for representatives and scouts from 19 NFL teams, who attended to scout James, Donovan Smith, Adrian Amos, and eight other Penn State players.[12] He was ranked the fifth best tight end prospect available in the 2015 NFL Draft by and was ranked the 13th best tight end by NFL analyst Charles Davis.[13]

Pre-draft measureables
Ht WtArm lengthHand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 7 in 261 lb33 in9⅜ in 4.83 s 1.72 s 2.85 s 4.50 s 7.53 s 37½ in 10 ft 1 in 26 reps

Pittsburgh Steelers

James was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fifth round (160th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft.[14]

2015 season

On May 14, 2015, the Steelers signed James to a four-year, $2.48 million rookie contract with $218,912 guaranteed.[10][15]

On November 8, 2015, James made his professional regular season debut and caught two passes for 13-yards and also scored his first touchdown on a four-yard reception in a 38-35 victory over the Oakland Raiders. As a rookie, he appeared in eight games, recording eight receptions for 56 yards and one touchdown.[16]

2016 season

The following season, with Heath Miller retired, and newly signed free agent Ladarius Green on injured-reserve, James became the starting tight end to begin the season.

He started the Pittsburgh Steelers' season-opener against the Washington Redskins and caught five passes for 31-yards in the 38-16 victory. The following week, James caught three passes for 29 receiving yards and a touchdown in a 24-16 win against the Cincinnati Bengals. His first touchdown came on a nine-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger. On October 9, 2016, James caught a career-high six receptions for 43-yards and caught his third touchdown of the season in a 31-13 victory over the New York Jets. In a Week 10 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, James caught four passes for a season-high 59 receiving yards in a 35-30 loss. He finished the 2016 season with 39 receptions for 338 receiving yards and three touchdown in 16 games and 13 starts.[17]

On January 8, 2017, James started in his first career postseason game and caught one pass for nine yards as the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Miami Dolphins 30-12 in the AFC Wildcard game.[17]

2017 season

James began the regular season as the Pittsburgh Steeler's de facto starting tight end ahead of Vance McDonald.[18]

On September 10, in the season opening 21–18 victory over the Cleveland Browns, James had six receptions for 41 yards and two touchdowns for his first career multi-touchdown game.[19] During Week 15 against the New England Patriots, James seemingly caught a potential game-winning touchdown, but after a review, it was overturned when officials ruled that James lost control as the ball hit the ground. The controversial moment loomed large as Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception two plays later, resulting in the Steelers losing 24–27 and giving the Patriots another AFC East title and eventual #1 seed.[20][21][22]

2018 season

In Week 2, against the Kansas City Chiefs, James recorded a career-high 138 receiving yards and a touchdown in the 42–37 loss.[23] He played in 16 games with seven starts, recording 30 receptions for 423 yards and two touchdowns.[24]

Detroit Lions

On March 14, 2019, James signed a four-year, $22.6 million contract with the Detroit Lions.[25]

Career statistics

Season Receiving Fumbles
Year Team GP GS Rec Yds Avg TD Lng Fum Lost
2015 PIT 8 2 8 56 7.0 1 20 0 0
2016 PIT 16 13 39 338 8.7 3 24 0 0
2017 PIT 16 14 43 372 8.7 3 32 0 0
2018 PIT 16 7 30 423 14.1 2 51 0 0
Career 56 36 120 1,189 9.9 9 51 0 0


  1. Gery, Ryne. "Community news from The Centre Daily Times in State College, PA -".
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 "Jesse James Penn State bio".
  3. "Jesse James".
  4. Flounders, Bob. "South Allegheny tight end Jesse James heads list of recent verbal commitments for Penn State football program".
  5. "Frank Bodani: How Penn State tight end Jesse James, 'The Freak,' became super". Archived from the original on January 6, 2015.
  6. Stuetz, John (September 2, 2014). "Penn State tight end Jesse James feeling".
  7. "Penn State notebook: James breaks Penn State tight end touchdown record in defeat". Archived from the original on January 6, 2015.
  8. "Jesse James to Enter 2015 NFL Draft".
  9. "Penn State football: Jesse James declares for NFL Draft, is third Lions' underclassman to do so".
  10. 10.0 10.1 Bouchette, Ed (May 14, 2015). "Penn State's Jesse James signs Steelers contract". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  11. "*Jesse James, DS #5 TE, Penn State".
  12. Brandt, Gil (March 20, 2015). "Penn State safety boosts draft stock at pro day".
  13. Charles Davis (April 7, 2015). "2015 NFL Draft prospect rankings by position".
  14. "Steelers select TE Jesse James in the Fifth Round". May 2, 2015. Retrieved July 3, 2017.
  15. " James contract".
  16. "Jesse James' 2015 Rookie Stats".
  17. 17.0 17.1 "NFL Player Profile:Jesse James".
  18. " Pittsburgh Steeler's depth chart: 09/01/2017".
  19. "Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns - September 10th, 2017". Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  20. "VIDEO: The Steelers Got Screwed By Bad Catch Rule on Jesse James TD". The Big Lead. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  21. "Did the Steelers get robbed on a controversial non-catch call?". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  22. Rosenthal, Gregg. "NFL: Steelers' Jesse James lost control of the football". NFL. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  23. "Steelers' Jesse James: Reels in touchdown" (in en).
  24. "Jesse James 2018 Game Log" (in en).
  25. "Lions sign three unrestricted free agents". March 14, 2019.

External links