2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – Texas Tech TE Jace Amaro

By Alex Kozora

With the regular season over, our focus has shifted to the offseason. For the next few months, I’ll be providing scouting reports on prospects. Some the Pittsburgh Steelers may look at. Other top players that will be off the board before the Steelers select. All to make you as prepared for the 2014 NFL Draft as possible.

Today a look at our second tight end of the draft season. Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro.

Jace Amaro/TE Texas Tech: 6’5 260

The Good

– Big body with a lot of length, gives self big catch radius

– Red zone threat

– Size makes him tough to bring down, a challenge for defensive backs

– Smooth, fluid athlete

– Gets out of his breaks quickly, isn’t stiff for his size

– Above average speed in the open field

– Soft hands, isn’t a body catcher

– Tracks the ball well and can adjust to poorly thrown passes

– Works well against zone, sits down and shows his numbers

– Willing to go across the middle and take a shot

– Semi-willing blocker with strength to overpower DBs when locked on

– Fantastic final season, record-setting numbers with numerous accolades

The Bad

– Not elite speed or athleticism, won’t blow by too many defenders

– Has trouble sticking to his blocks in the run/short pass game and seems to give up too easily

– Could stand to improve football IQ, be more aware of when he’s a hot read

– Needs to work to the QB on scramble drills, will get lazy

– Little experience as an in-line blocker

– Never had to beat a jam

– Limited starting experience

– Only one year of true production

– Numbers obviously inflated due to pass happy offense

– Does have one serious medical issue on record

– Minor off the field problems, has an arrest

Other

– Left school as a junior, will be 22 in June

– Just 19 career starts

– Record setting 2013 with 106 catches 1352 yards and 7 TDs

– Second most yards and third most catches in Texas Tech history

– Most yards in a single season in NCAA history, 2nd most receptions

– 1st Team All-American by almost every outlet, including the AP, AFCA, and Sports Illustrated

– 1st Team Big 12

– Suffered a Grade 3 lacerated spleen in 2012, causing internal bleeding, and missed six games

– Returned for bowl game in 2012 but was ejected for punching opposing player

– Arrested in the spring after his freshman year on credit card fraud charge though charges were eventually dropped

– Four star prospect coming out of high school, 887 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior

– Currently an unpaid intern writing for the San Antonio Express

Amaro may never be Jimmy Graham or Jordan Cameron, he’s a tick below them athletically, but make no mistake, his forte is a receiver. 90% of the time at Texas Tech, he was lined up in the slot and can be used as a stand up “Y” tight end at the next level.

This was probably my favorite catch I watched of his. Watch him track the ball over his shoulder while maintaining speed and haul it in. NFL caliber catch showing hand eye coordination and focus.

 

And this shows Amaro’s ceiling. Double move to create separation. Makes the catch with his hands. Absorbs the hit from the safety immediately and stays on his feet. Drags another linebacker more than ten yards before finally going down. It’s not just the speed as it is the frame that makes him a weapon in the open field.

 

He’s hot and cold as a blocker and will have to just rep it as an in-line blocker to be more proficient there. In the three games I watched, he couldn’t have seen more than five snaps with his hand down in any one of them. But his size is an obvious advantage, whether that be sealing on the goalline

 

or in space, driving the corner out of frame

 

However, when asked to base block coming out of a three point stance, he struggles to stick.

 

And I also pointed out the need to work back to the football on scramble drills. In Texas Tech’s offense, there were so many options and the ball usually coming out quick, Amaro didn’t need to keep a route alive very often. But here, coming off the right side running a dig route, you can see him stop in the middle of the field as his quarterback is flushed to the right. Reverse field and come back to him. Make yourself an option. The receiver that made the catch? He was running a crosser that he broke upfield after the QB scrambled. Was rewarded with a catch and first down.

Again, as I noted, Amaro rarely had to beat the jam because of the Red Raiders’ penchant for spreading the field. He’ll have to learn how to gain separation without getting a clean release. Simply comes with reps.

To be clear and fair, the arrest does not seem major. Something that he will get asked about but relatively speaking, it’s minor and a non-issue at this point.

Amaro is what teams are looking for. An athletic tight end you can move all over the field and create serious matchup problems. I’m not enamored with height and size but it’s impossible to deny the asset it is.

I’ve been a proponent of the Steelers taking an athletic tight end early and though I have yet to watch other prospects like Austin Sefarian-Jenkins or C.J. Fiedorowicz, I’d have no qualms about selecting Amaro.

Projection: Late First, Early Second Round

Games Watched: vs TCU, at West Virgina, vs Arizona St (Bowl).

Previous Scouting Reports:
Buffalo LB Khalil Mack
Illinois State T/G Josh Aladenoye
Penn State WR Allen Robinson
ILB Shayne Skov
Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin
North Carolina TE Eric Ebron
Auburn T Greg Robinson
Minnesota DT Ra’Shede Hageman
Notre Dame NT Louis Nix III
Auburn LB Dee Ford

Senior in college, blogging from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • STEELCAN

    If the Steelers feel he can improve as an in line blocker, I would”nt mind a scenario of a trade down (if its there) of 8 to 10 spots, and picking up an additional 2nd rd pick.

  • Callentown

    Seems every team is interested in trading down for the most part. But only the Cheatriots seem to be able to pull it off regularly. Would love to see it though, especially if none of the defensive studs fall to us at 15.

  • Patrick Reid

    I love Jenkins more than Ebron or Amaro. Or either Niklas or Fiedorowicz in the third if they are still around. Answers our need for a big receiver, they block really well and really improve our Red Zone prowess. Running dual sets with Heath would really make us dynamic on O.

  • David Edward

    Ehh, I see him moreas a big body WR since he plays split out more often in Tech’s system. Certainly wouldn’t consider him @ 15 because he’s not the elite athlete like Vernon Davis or Graham. Considering they passed on a better prospect in Eifert last year, I don’t see them going in this direction this year….even if tjey managed to trade down. If they went with a TE, I can see it being Ebron or a mid-to-late pick.

  • patrick Mayfield

    Cleveland traded back like 5 times a few years back. Ended up with Colt McCoy IIRC.

    How the patriots got ahead was giving up a pick in the current year in exchange for a pick in next year’s draft. Not a bad idea if you say traded your 3rd rounder every year for a second in next year’s draft.

  • DrakePirate

    Im not sure the analysis of him not being athletic is correct … i think that is actually one of his strengths and he actually has decent speed … close to ebron … i think the article underestimates him in both areas … he was a star athlete in H.S. very athletic and fast .. i would put him in the low 4.6s for a TE with his size that is not bad !

  • Callentown

    Whatever they’re doing, I think they’re still cheating ;)

  • SFIC

    I disagree regarding Amaro’s athleticism, speed & separation. I’ve watched a lot of tape on Amaro (as well as Ebron & ASJ). Very few SS’s and LB’s were able to stay with him because of his speed, quickness and his ability to cut on a dime. Even those that could were still not able break up the the reception because Amaro is a vacuum. Every ball that’s near him is his alone. Whichever team drafts him will rarely play him inline either, so weakness in that regard are redundant. He will play in the slot where he is lethal and a total mismatch. Teams will need to adjust there defensive scheme for him.
    I also disagree with his projected draft spot. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s selected prior to 15. IMO he’s the 2nd best receiver in this draft behind Watkins. If Amaro is still there at 15, I say take him and don’t look back.
    He will be better receiver than Eifert too, who I also find soft.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Good hands but appears slow out of his breaks. Also he really needs to work on his blocking.

  • WIINGY

    He kind of reminds me of Gronk. Looks like a player.

  • DrakePirate

    I think you are pretty much spot on … 15 is not even a remote reach for him … he will go surely before 25 and a few spots between that and 15 can not be called a reach … whoever thinks like that is a dinosaur …. so by that theory everyone should have the same evaluations with each player and therefore the fact that there are so many busts in the first round and 6th round stars would account for nothing …

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    I like Amaro but not as our tight end; as our flanker. After selecting him, i’d still go after a tight end. His roles wouldn’t fit in as our tight end and by how we use them, but he’d be an excellent flanker regardless. It is hard for people to recognize that speed play smaller role in breaking down the routes, Amaro displayed excellent footworks but ASJ and Ebron both showed better ability to play a tradition tight end position. Of course, how will Haley use him remain and leave questions for us.

  • ATL96STEELER

    The talent is there for what the Steelers need…this guy can get to the deep middle, and can be a great in the RZ…but, he played in the slot a lot in college and got a free release off the line a lot also. My concern would be how he would be used in PIT…you’re not drafting the guy to be the next Heath Miller…he’s more Jimmy Graham like.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Where he goes?…depends on the combine, if he runs something similar to his reported 4.6 to 4.7. I’m thinking he will likely being on the board @ 15.

    Right now it looks as if QBs are going early, Matthews, then the top DEF guys Clowney, Barr, Mack…Ebron, Watkins, Evans I think will go before him assuming they have good combines.

  • SFIC

    “…he’s more Jimmy Graham like.”
    And that’s exactly what I love about Amaro :-)

  • DrakePirate

    ya i def think he will be there at 15 and even beyond but not past late 20s … def think he will run in the 4.6s … he is definitely not a Heath replacement, but a tandem to complement him and a nightmare matchup guy … we can get Heaths replacement in a couple more years

  • ATL96STEELER

    I have only seen a few plays for Jenkins…the write ups on him certainly would make him a valuable player in PIT…Never seen the other 2 guys play that you mentioned.

    By hook or crook, I really feel PIT has to get a big playmaker on OFC from this draft so it’ll be interesting to see how they go about it.