Considered one of the premier tight end prospects in this year’s NFL draft class, Jace Amaro of Texas Tech fits the mold of the new hybrid models at the position.
At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, Amaro has the size to create mismatches against defensive backs and the speed and route-running ability to best linebackers. Pass-catching, too, is a strength, as he has wide receiver-like hands and can work out of the slot.
Amaro recorded an FBS record 1,352 receiving yards during his junior campaign in Lubbock, Texas, the most yardage ever by a tight end passing the previous mark set by James Casey in 2008. He surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark six times throughout the season, also a best among tight ends this year.
Some have likened Amaro to a “bigger” version of Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, while others view the former Red Raiders standout more comparable to the New England Patriots’ All-Pro, Rob Gronkowski. And how he was used in the Raiders’ spread offense is much like that of how New Orleans utilizes Jimmy Graham.
Amaro is the No. 25 prospect in this year’s crop, according to Mel Kiper Jr., and No. 27, according to CBS Sports. Both rankings pin him as the second-best tight end behind only Eric Ebron of North Carolina, and a likely selection somewhere toward the end of the first round or early on in the second.
Because of his pass-catching ability, Amaro should be coveted by teams in need of either a big-framed wideout or a tight end. And the first potential landing spot may be at No. 20 overall to the Arizona Cardinals.
Rob Housler put together a pretty impressive season in the desert last season, racking up 39 receptions for more than 450 yards. But imagine if the Cards upgraded at the position, adding Amaro to a receiving corps that includes Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.
But the most commonly mentioned destination is No. 29 to the New England Patriots. With Aaron Hernandez behind bars and Rob Gronkowski recovering from yet another injury, the Pats could give Tom Brady another weapon from the tight end spot in Amaro. And if Gronk can return to the team healthy enough, he and Amaro could team up to give the offense a wicked tandem.