An ideal offense nowadays in the NFL would include a franchise quarterback, dynamic running back, three above-average-to-borderline-elite wide receivers and a versatile tight end who has playmaking capabilities. To me at least, the Green Bay Packers fit the bill, but they are missing that versatile, playmaking tight end. Enter Texas Tech Red Raiders‘ Jace Amaro into the conversation.
After two years of sufficient-but-not-flashy seasons in Lubbock, Amaro had quite an unbelievable 2013 season with the Red Raiders. In total, he caught 106 passes for 1,352 yards with seven touchdowns. Those would be solid numbers for a traditional wide receiver, but for a tight end, they’re off the charts. In fact, those 106 receptions set a single-season school record for receptions by a junior, and the 1,352 receiving yards put him second all-time in school history of single-season receiving yards. Not to mention, the yardage vaulted him as to having the best receiving season as a tight end in NCAA history.
Based on those facts, it’s a surprise to me Amaro isn’t higher on most pundit’s mock drafts. I then realized that the 2014 tight end is that good. He could easily be the third tight end selected, behind North Carolina‘s Eric Ebron and Washington‘s Austin Seferian-Jenkins, which could be a steal of a pick for GM Ted Thompson and the Packers. Would the team have to snag him at No. 21 to make sure they got him or could they wait for him in the second round? That’s a very tough question to answer, but Amaro’s talent is there for him to be a key addition to head coach Mike McCarthy‘s West Coast offense.
Beside his gaudy stats, his size also jumps off the page. He stands at 6-foot-5, 260-pounds, but that didn’t prevent him from running a 4.74 40-yard time at the NFL Combine. More notably, he kept up with Kliff Kingsbury‘s uptempo aerial attack partly because he needed to if he wanted to see the field but mainly because he owns more than his fair share of athleticism.
The unanimous All-American selection has in his arsenal what the Packers eye out of a tight end: versatility. Given TTU’s spread offense, Amaro was used in the slot a lot, similarly to how Jermichael Finley was used during his time as a Packer. He was also used in the backfield as a part of the H-back in the hybrid wishbone offense, displaying fundamental blocking techniques on the blitzing cornerbacks. All the while he was targeted immensely from whatever position on the field, no matter what the given set was.
Though this isn’t to say that Amaro is more toward being a wide receiver than tight end, because his weaknesses serve as a black eye for his receiving game. While he can get open from the slot position, it’s mainly over the shallow and deep middle against a linebacker. He’s slow getting off the line of scrimmage, which shows in matchups against faster cornerbacks, but Amaro still utilizes his strength to catch balls in traffic.
Nonetheless, the overall skill set proves him to be a great selection for the Packers in the first or second round.