A couple weeks back, I brought attention to the mounting evidence that proves the New York Giants are interested in 2014 NFL Draft prospect Jace Amaro. It doesn’t surprise me that the Giants are trying to get a closer look at Amaro, as the more games of his I watch, the harder it is to gauge how he will transition to the NFL.
The system and specific position he played in is the polar opposite of what we’ve seen from the Giants’ offense and their tight ends in the past. These specifics also vary from what new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo was a part of with the Green Bay Packers.
We know from McAdoo’s conference call with the press that he is looking for a complete tight end who is not just a threat in the passing game. Would you expect anything less from someone who got his start with the Packers as their tight end coach? He had this to say about the position, “They have a lot on their plate in this offense and it’s the best position to play because you have to learn how to do everything and you have to learn how to do it well at a high level. At the end of the day, you have to find players who you can plug in and figure out what they do best and make sure on the field that they’re doing what they do best.”
Amaro certainly has all the physical tools to be a complete tight end, but he hasn’t necessarily been asked to be one during his career at Texas Tech. Take a look at this complete draft profile I have created after reviewing three of Amaro’s games from the 2013 season in search of his strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully after reading this you will have a better idea of what round the Giants should target him and if they should target him at all.
College: Texas Tech
Position: Tight End
Forty-Yard-Dash: 4.74 (he improved to a 4.68 at his Pro Day)
Bench Press: 28 (second-best out of the TEs at the NFL Combine)
Production: In 2013 Amaro racked up 1352 yards on 106 catches, adding seven touchdowns; in his career, he totaled 1818 yards on 138 catches, with 13 total touchdowns.
Strengths: Amaro has the size to become a prototypical inline tight end. Although he hasn’t lined up inline often, he was one of the best blockers at tight end in space when matched up with a safety, cornerback, or linebacker in the slot. He has strong hands that are most obviously on display at the catch point, but can also help him develop into a plus blocker at the next level. He is tough and has no issues going across the middle to catch the ball, something that he was asked to do often in his college offense. Even though he is not the most agile prospect, as shown by his 3-cone time mentioned above, he is a consistent threat in the red zone because of his size and hands.
Weaknesses: Amaro lined up mostly as a slot receiver in college and has limited experience inline. Based on the system he played in, there are concerns that his production in 2013 was inflated. Sometimes he has trouble gaining separation against man coverage. Most of the routes he ran were short crossing routes where the quarterback was designed to get the ball out quickly, and because of this it is difficult to determine if he has what it takes to run the seam route and other downfield route combinations that are often required in an NFL offense.
Overall: If the Giants select Amaro, they will be drafting a prospect who has the potential to be one of the game’s best all around tight ends. However, right now potential is really all that it is. He can make an immediate impact in the red zone and in certain packages, but he needs improvement in his route running and experience handling the duties of an inline tight end if he wants to reach his potential. Therefore, he is a fine value in the second round but a reach for the Giants in the first.
NFL Comparison: Jason Witten or Martellus Bennett
Projected Round: Late First-to-Mid Second