While we still don’t know if Michael Vick or Geno Smith will be starting at quarterback for the New York Jets, we certainly know that they need better talent to throw to. The Jets were saddled with the NFL’s 31st ranked passing offense last year, and after going defense in the first round, they finally addressed this deficiency with the selection of Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro. Amaro will provide the Jets with another weapon, and he should become an excellent security blanket for whichever quarterback is under center.
Amaro was highly productive as a junior in Texas Tech’s Air Raid offense, catching 106 passes for 1,352 yards and 7 touchdowns. There are a few concerns that he is a one year wonder or simply the product of the Red Raiders’ pass happy attack, but the film shows a player who has the talent to back up those numbers. At 6’5″, 265 lbs with a 4.74 40, Amaro is the type of big, athletic target who will create mismatches.
Amaro has a more complete route tree than the average rookie, and he runs good routes and uses his size to create separation. Amaro has some of the best hands among tight ends in the draft, and he is capable of rising up and making tough catches. He should immediately provide an upgrade in the red zone, where the Jets ranked 27th in touchdown conversion percentage last season.
Calling Amaro a tight end is a bit of a misnomer, as he lined up almost exclusively in the slot in college, and he is not a good blocker. The Jets will not try to force Amaro to be an inline blocker, but rather frequently use two tight end sets with Jeff Cumberland as the down tight end while lining up Amaro, Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley as receivers. That group presents a noticeable upgrade from last season, and it should help Smith make big strides if he is the starter.
Jets fans wanted to see the offense addressed early and often in the draft, and they got their wish in Round 2. Amaro is a good start towards rebuilding the Jets’ receiving corps, and look for the Jets to add at least one or two more playmakers with their nine Day 3 picks.