May 8, 2014
NEW YORK -- Offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James became the 45th Tennessee player selected in the first round of the NFL Draft as he was picked by the Miami Dolphins with the 19th overall selection on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall.
I am so blessed and appreciate the Dolphins so much for this opportunity! Ready to go to work with my new team! #FinsUp-- Ja'Wuan James (@JawuanJames70) May 9, 2014
Ja'Wuan James (@JawuanJames70) May 9, 2014
Tennessee now has 335 all-time selections in the NFL Draft, most of any SEC program. The Vols have produced 27 first-round selections dating to 1989, sixth-most of any program.
James is the first Tennessee offensive lineman selected in the first round since current Vol For Life Program Coordinator Antone Davis was picked eighth overall in the 1991 draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. James is just the sixth Vols offensive lineman selected in the first round all-time.
James is the 12th player from Tennessee drafted by the Dolphins and the fourth offensive lineman, after Thomas last year, Harry Galbreath in 1988 and John Boynton in 1968. The last Vol picked in the first round by the Dolphins was defensive back Jason Allen in 2006.
"I'm a tough, smart offensive lineman," James said when asked about his strengths as an offensive lineman. "I pride myself on being smart and not making many mistakes. I bring athleticism to the table and a lot of experience, too, being able to play that many games at the position in the conference I did."
Miami Dolphins General Manager is thrilled to welcome James. "We're excited about the skill set that he brings. He brings in what the Dolphins are all about. We're really excited to have him a part of our organization."
James started all 49 games of his college career, all at right tackle, including all 12 in his senior season of 2013. With 49 starts, the Suwanee, Ga., native set the record for career starts by an offensive lineman in Tennessee history, passing Jeff Smith (48). His 49 games played, stands second to former teammate and 2013 Senior Bowl invitee Dallas Thomas (50) for most games played on the offensive line at Tennessee.
He participated in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis after playing in the 2014 Reese's Senior Bowl.
The 6-6, 318-pound James was an All-SEC second-team selection by the Associated Press in 2013. He was also a member of the preseason Outland Trophy Watch List. James earned SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week on Dec. 2 following his college finale at Kentucky, when he set the school record for consecutive start by a Vols offensive lineman. As a senior, James helped the Vols to 2,261 rushing yards in 2013, the most by UT since 2004. With James as a anchor, the Vols' offensive line allowed just 23 sacks over the last two years, including just eight in 2012, the fourth fewest in the NCAA at 0.67 per game. Tennessee had five games of more than 500 yards of total offense in 2012.
James is reunited with fellow lineman Dallas Thomas with the Miami Dolphins. Last season, Thomas as a third-round pick by the Dolphins. Check out this feature on the pair when they took a martial arts class.