5 Apr 2014 10:19 AM EST
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Jace Amaro in the open field against the Oklahoma Sooners. (Image Source: Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo)
The New York Jets are desperate for weapons on offense, particularly those who can help in the passing game. On Thursday, I wrote about Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin as a possible target in the 2014 NFL Draft, as general manager John Idzik searches for a potential starter opposite free agent addition Eric Decker, if not this season then down the line.
Of course, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Yes, wide receiver remains a high priority, but the Jets can also add to their arsenal of aerial weapons by drafting a tight end in May.
On Tuesday, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported that the Jets “are intrigued by Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro” according to a team source. It has also been reported that the former Red Raider has scheduled a visit with the Jets.
With Idzik in attendance at Tech’s pro day three weeks ago on March 14, Amaro ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 (with the wind) and 4.69 seconds (against the wind), with a 33.5” vertical leap and 24 reps on the bench press. He also looked fluid catching passes from former Tech QB Seth Doege according to those in attendance.
The tight end had a breakout junior season in 2013 with a whopping 106 receptions for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns. Similar to NFL star tight ends such as Jimmy Graham, Amaro is basically a wide receiver posing as a tight end on roster lists and depth charts, as the Big 12 product lined up far more often out wide and in the slot than he did in the trenches.
He’s flashed the ability to break free from defenders at the line of scrimmage and is very capable of stretching the field with his athletic ability. Amaro typically uses his hands to catch the football, keeping it away from his body, and he can contort himself in order to make the difficult grab.
While he plays like a wide receiver, Amaro has a tight end’s body, with a near prototypical frame at 6’5” and 265 pounds. However, so far he hasn’t always put his size to best use, either as a blocker or a pass catcher.
At the college level he was more good not great at making catches among defenders and high pointing the football. Considering his size, you’d expect Amaro to dominate collegiate defensive backs.
As a blocker, Amaro gives a good effort, he can make it difficult for smaller defenders to get around him and he wasn’t afraid to get his nose dirty when asked. However, he really lacks experience as an in-line blocker and he needs to get stronger if he’s going to battle in the trenches against NFL linebackers and defensive ends. Moreover, his blocking technique is very rudimentary and needs a lot of work.
Most draft evaluators consider Amaro the consensus number two end in the 2014 NFL Draft behind North Carolina’s Eric Ebron. Look for Amaro to go in the late first round to mid second round range and if he’s available at No. 49 overall when the Jets pick in round number two, he’ll be an option to consider.
Some like Chase Goodbread of NFL.com speculate that Amaro might be gone by then, citing the New England Patriots as a club that might consider the tight end late in the first round. CBSSports.com lists Amaro as their 38th ranked prospect overall, while ESPN has him as No. 44.
Other potential second-round options at tight end include Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas, who might not be the pass catchers that Amaro is, but are for more well-rounded players.
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards.
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