Houston Texans: Tight End Jesse James Simply Makes Sense


With the NFL Scouting Combine in full swing this weekend, the Houston Texans are looking for some quality prospects to help fill the various voids on their roster. One of those areas could be at the tight end position.

Last season, the Texans tight end group consisted of Garrett Graham, C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin and Anthony Denham.

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As the starter, Graham disappointed in 2014. After signing a a three-year, $11.25 million contract in the offseason, the fourth-year veteran played in just 11 games and recorded only 18 receptions for 197 yards and one touchdown.

Fiedorowicz was the Texans’ third round selection out of Iowa in 2014 and also struggled in his rookie year. He recorded just four catches for 28 yards and one score in 15 games.

Second-year tight end Griffin was arguably Houston’s best overall tight end, but that isn’t saying much as he recorded just 10 receptions for 81 yards and one touchdown in 16 games himself.

Denham appeared in only four games for the Texans and didn’t record a single stat.

Bottom line is the tight end position did not produce for the Texans in 2014. Which is surprising considering their head coach, one Mr. Bill O’Brien, used to work with the arguably the best tight end in the league, Rob Gronkowski, during his time with the New England Patriots’ coaching staff.

Although all of their current tight ends are locked up contractually in 2015, I believe it makes sense for O’Brien and the Texans to upgrade the position in this year’s draft. Especially with a prospect their head coach is very familiar with.

As the former head coach at Penn State, O’Brien has five of his players participating in this year’s scouting combine. And one of those players, tight end Jesse James, has been very impressive throughout the event.

The 6-7, 270 pound James recorded 38 receptions for 396 yards and three touchdowns during his junior year for the Nittany Lions. He did set the Penn State record for touchdown receptions by a tight end with 11 in his three-year stint.

Slated as a mid-to-late round draft pick, James has been turning heads at the NFL’s Scouting Combine. He was the top performer in both the vertical and broad jump among all the tight end participants. And despite being considered a “one-speed guy” by NFL draft insider Mike Mayock, James ran a 4.83 forty yard dash time. He also tied for second in bench press with 26 lifts.

But the biggest thing James has going for him, other than his frame, as far is the Texans are concerned is O’Brien himself. Here’s what the former Penn State head coach had to say about all his former players at the combine this weekend.

"“I can’t say enough about those guys and I hope they get their opportunity,” O’Brien told HoustonTexans.com. “Those guys did a lot for us and we owe a lot to all those players. Hopefully they get an opportunity to play pro football….You never know. Maybe one of them will get an opportunity in Houston.”"

The other former Nittany Lions attending the combine are safety Adrian Amos, kicker Sam Ficken, linebacker Mike Hull, and guard Donovan Smith. The Texans could use an upgrade at nearly every position in which his former players occupy. But for my money, adding a player like Jesse James simply makes sense.

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