A former Del Rio Rams football player is headed to the NFL.
Cory James, a 2011 graduate of Del Rio High School, was drafted 194th overall by the Oakland Raiders in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft Saturday.
He is the first Del Rio Rams football player to ever be drafted into the National Football League. Former Rams quarterback Michael Brown, who played tight end at TCU, signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Bears in the late 1990’s but was not drafted by the team.
James was a standout linebacker at Colorado State University, racking up 25 sacks in four years at the school. He played outside linebacker for his first three years at Colorado State before being moved to middle linebacker his senior year. He leaves Colorado State ranked fourth on the school’s all-time sack list.
James was also a freshman All-American and was an All-Mountain West Conference All-Conference Second Team selection his senior year. He was also selected to play in the East-West Shrine all-star game.
Current Rams head coach Frenchey McCrea Jr. coached James and is very close to the former Del Rio linebacker. McCrea said seeing James drafted was emotional for him. “Like it was my own son,” McCrea said via text message.
James was one of two former Del Rio Rams eligible to be drafted. Fellow Colorado State Ram Kevin Pierre-Louis, a safety, was also available. While Pierre-Louis’ name might not have been called on draft day, his skill set and his fearlessness in tackling make him a tantalizing free agent for any NFL team.
James’ pick was announced by the Raiders contingent in Mexico City. Aztec Stadium Operations Director Felix Aguirre made the actual announcement of James’ selection while two-time Super Bowl winner Jim Plunkett and members of the Raiderettes cheerleading squad looked on.
While James wasn’t ranked as one of the top 100 NFL prospects by many experts, his work on the field did not go unnoticed. NFL.com analysts noted his speed on the edge and felt he could be a disruptor in the right defensive scheme.
In high school, James was a two-year starter for the Rams at linebacker. He was a District 29-6A first team all-district selection as a junior and was named the district’s co-Most Outstanding Linebacker his senior year.