The New York Jets went into the NFL Draft with a huge need for help in the passing game, and they found their playmaker with the selection of tight end Jace Amaro in the second round. Many observers were surprised to see the Jets pass on a true receiver until the fourth round, but they believe that Amaro brings the type of receiving threat they need. It will be very interesting to see how Marty Mornhinweg works Amaro into the offense.
Amaro was drafted as a tight end and will continue to be called a tight end, but he is pretty far from a traditional tight end. He is a poor blocker, and played in the slot or split wide for the vast majority of his snaps in college. The Jets could try to move him down as a traditional in-line tight end, but that would likely have a significant negative effect on their run game. Instead, look for the Jets to get creative with their use of Amaro.
The most logical scenario is that the Jets will heavily use two tight end sets that feature Jeff Cumberland as the in-line tight end, Amaro in the slot or split wide, and Eric Decker and Jeremy Kerley as the receivers. Flexing Amaro out serves to create mismatches by forcing the defense to pull a linebacker out of the box or move a safety down in man to man. At 6’5″, 265 lbs with a 4.74 40, most defenders that match up well with Amaro physically don’t have the necessary coverage skills. He is the classic case of too big for defensive backs and too fast and skilled for linebackers, and the Jets need put him in position to take advantage of that.
Amaro is at his best working the middle of the field, and he should provide a security blanket for whichever quarterback is under center. With Amaro working the seams, the Jets should be able to get single coverage for Decker on the outside and find opportunities to get Kerley the ball in space. Also, the mismatch that Amaro creates should open lanes in the run game as the defense adjusts to cover him.
Mornhinweg has shown plenty of times in his career that he is not afraid to get creative and use unique personnel packages and formations. Expect the Jets to show a wide variety of looks that involve both Amaro and Cumberland on the field, as both are athletic enough to get moved around. Not that Amaro is close to this caliber of player, but the goal will likely be to use him in a role similar to the one Jimmy Graham plays with the New Orleans Saints.
Amaro will be moved around quite a bit, and the Jets will certainly use a wide variety of personnel packages to accommodate their offseason acquisitions of Amaro, Decker and Chris Johnson. No matter where he lines up though, Amaro’s responsibility will be to provide Geno Smith or Michael Vick with a big target over the middle and in the red zone. The Jets are expecting significant and immediate production from their second round pick, and it is vital that they find the best role to create mismatches and maximize his talents.
Previously: Calvin Pryor