NFL

Steelers using rookie TE Jesse James to mimic Rob Gronkowski

Jul 27, 2015; Latrobe, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James (81) runs after a catch as inside linebacker Vince Williams (R) defends during training camp at Saint Vincent College. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jul 27, 2015; Latrobe, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James (81) runs after a catch as inside linebacker Vince Williams (R) defends during training camp at Saint Vincent College. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is a big man at 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds. Steelers rookie tight end Jesse James is also quite large at 6-foot-7 and 261 pounds. So it makes sense that Pittsburgh is using the fifth-round pick to do his best Gronk impression on the practice field leading up to Thursday night's season opener.

"The coaches put me there because they have a good size comparison for a big body for the defense to go up against and give them as realistic a shot of what they're going to have on Thursday night as they can," James said via PennLive.com.

Size is the only apt comparison between Gronkowski and James, but Steelers coaches have urged James to be physical in his routes, just like his New England counterpart.

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"He's got a wingspan, I mean, huge wingspan, so he really muscles everybody a lot of times," defensive coordinator Keith Butler said of Gronkowski. "He gets the matchups that they want and he's going to be probably bigger than the person guarding him."

h/t: PennLive.com