St. Kitts-born Erasmus James has been selected on the first round (18th pick overall) of the National Football League (NFL) Draft by the Minnesota Vikings.James is the second Badger defensive lineman (joining Wendell Bryant) in the past four seasons to be selected in the first round of the draft.Ê James was the third defensive end selected. A former Badger Defensive End, James is the 23rd first-round draft choice in Wisconsin State University history and the ninth of the Coach Barry Alvarez era (15 seasons). The Badgers have had at least one first-round pick in six of the past seven NFL drafts.
James was Wisconsin’s first consensus All-American since 2000 last season. He was a finalist for the Lombardi, Nagurski, Bednarik and Hendricks Awards. James, who knocked out two Penn State quarterbacks with clean hits in one game on his way to being named the Big Ten Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year last season, told the Minnesota media that he looks forward to getting cheered in the Metrodome.
“It’s going to feel good,” James said. “I’m just glad to be a Viking.”
Coach Mike Tice said James will start out at right end for what should be a vastly improved Vikings defense, one that has been bolstered by free-agent signings. “We think he’s going to bring some athleticism, quickness and some explosiveness and playmaking ability to that position,” Tice said.
James, a 2000 graduate of the Mc Arthur High School in Florida, in an interview with Sports Writer Craig Barnes said he isn’t sure how the Minnesota Vikings will use him on defense, but he knows he will have to prove himself in the NFL just as he did in college.
“I’m definitely going to be competing for that starting job. That’s why they brought me in,” said James.