As we continue to scout the players the New York Jets could consider in the 2014 NFL Draft, we reach one of the more intriguing prospects in the entire draft. Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro is somewhat of a polarizing prospect, but he has seen his stock rise recently. In my initial seven round Jets mock draft a month ago, I projected the Jets to take Amaro in the second round. However, now it does not appear that he will be available then, so the Jets will have to consider him in the first round or make a trade if they want him.
Amaro was a bit of a one year wonder at Texas Tech, even though he did record a combined 32 receptions for 468 yards and 6 touchdowns as a freshman and sophomore. Amaro broke out in a big way as a junior, catching 106 passes for 1,352 yards and 7 TDs in the Red Raiders’ high octane offense. As with many of the other prospects we’ve looked at, is is important to note that Texas Tech throws the ball 55 times a game before being too impressed by Amaro’s numbers as compared to, say, Eric Ebron’s.
Amaro is 6’5″ 260 lbs, and NFL teams will be perfectly happy to see him record a 40 time in the 4.5-4.6 range at the combine. He has all the physical tools teams are looking for, starting with his excellent hands. Amaro is solid route runner who knows how to use his size to give the quarterback a target, and his size/speed combination makes him a matchup problem for most defenses.
Amaro has a lot experience lining up in the slot or split out wide, and the team that drafts him will be able to use his flexibility to create mismatches. The concerns on Amaro are that he was simply a product of Texas Tech’s system, and that he lacks the aggression and physicality needed to make it in the NFL. Those concerns are legitimate, especially the former, but personally I think Amaro will be an effective player at the next level. He is a very talented player, and if he is used properly there is no reason his natural receiving skills shouldn’t translate to the NFL.
Amaro would be a major upgrade at tight end for the Jets, and Marty Mornhinweg is the type of coach who could maximize his talents. You’ll hear Amaro criticized for his weak blocking throughout the draft process, but anyone who cares more Amaro’s blocking than receiving is missing the point. Amaro has the ability to become a major weapon in the passing game, especially if teams are willing to flex him out and get creative.
The problem for Amaro and the Jets is value. Taking him at No. 18 is a little early, but I doubt he’ll be around when they pick in the second. The most likely scenario in which Amaro ends up on the Jets is if they trade back and take him later in the first round. The Jets won’t do that if one of the top receivers is available when they pick, but that is far from guaranteed. Amaro is not the most likely Jets’ draft pick, but he is a very good fit and a name to keep in mind depending on how things break down in the early part of the first round.