Jesse James isn’t the starting tight end for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he’s the reason they aren’t considering a tight end in the 2018 NFL Draft.
In February, every mock draft had the Steelers picking a tight end in the middle of the 2018 NFL Draft. With Vance McDonald’s future seemingly outside of Pittsburgh, and Jesse James still not proving to be a feature tight end, many believed the team was once again looking for a starter.
As the offseason moved on, news of Vance McDonald seemed to disappear. Well, more like not start. Rumors circulating that he would be a cap casualty were nothing more than rumors. Talks that the team wasn’t happy with having another injured tight end faded, and more and more people began to accept that he would be on the roster moving forward.
Then, the need for a tight end seem to end. The Steelers had their starting tight end, and Jesse James. Not that their tight end situation couldn’t improve, but people in Pittsburgh love James, and if drafting another tight end meant replacing him, then the answer is not to draft one.
Leaving us here, with a clear understanding of the depth chart at the position. The starter can rotate, but James is the backup, and the only tight end with a secure job in Pittsburgh.
This means the Steelers likely aren’t searching for a tight end in the draft. If there’s someone slipping to the later rounds and they’re out of needs on the draft board, maybe. But overall, the game plan is to avoid adding someone to compete with James for the second spot.
It’s the only concern the team and fans agree on within the position. No one is worried about McDonald sticking around as long as the team replaces him. But if you move on from Jesse James, Pittsburgh will see madness.
None of this is proven with stats or game time. All it is, is a general consensus between the fan base. Move on from Jesse James and people are going to be upset. That’s the only reason people have stopped including tight ends into the draft mix, and until Vance McDonald is no longer on the roster, adding another tight end is not going to happen.