The Pittsburgh Steelers are entering their eleventh season with Heath Miller. At the age of 32, Miller's been a reliable piece for the offense and Ben Roethlisberger as the team's leading tight end. There's a great case to make for Miller being the franchise's best tight end ever, a case well made by BTSC's Jack Finn last summer. Still, with Miller's age, one of the many questions this year is whether the team will invest an early draft pick in a future replacement for Miller.
ESPN's Scott Brown reports that the Steelers are taking a hard look at Jesse James, the large-bodied tight end out of Penn State. James set a Nittany Lions record for touchdown receptions as a tight end with eleven in his three-year career, but only posted 38 receptions for 396 yard and 3 touchdowns in 2014. But his 6-foot-7 242 frame is a major asset going into the draft.
"James is a big body, mostly inline. He looks like a one-speed guy to me," NFL Network Analyst Mike Mayock said Monday. "He catches the football fairly well. As an inline blocker he's pesky, but he's not overly powerful."
James, a graduate of the local South Allegheny High School, also talked about his admiration for Heath Miller and his work ethic.
"He's a balanced player," James said of Miller. "He works his butt off every play."
So far, the big-bodied tight end has shown up at the scouting combine. Despite an average showing in the 40 yard dash with a 4.83 time, he has posted the best showing in the broad jump, the vertical jump, and the bench press for tight ends. You can follow his NFL draft profile here as the combine continues.
James wouldn't be a high pick, but the Steelers might take a chance on him in the later rounds and hope he turned out better than their 2012 seventh round draft pick, David Paulson.