Texas Tech’s Amaro hoping for right NFL fit

02/20/2014 7:17 PM

11/12/2014 3:56 PM

Texas Tech listed Jace Amaro as a tight end. Yet, he estimates he lined up as a traditional tight end, with his hand on the ground, only 10 plays or so a game.

Call him a tight end. Call him a receiver.

Amaro really just wants to be considered good at what he does best.

“I think I’m a mixture of both,” Amaro said. “I think that’s why I’m so unique. It’s kind of a revolution to the game now with what tight ends can bring across the board. I like to see myself as both a tight end and as a receiver.”

Amaro, who measured 6-foot-5 and weighed 265 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday, did exactly what first-year Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury asked of him. He caught 106 of the 714 passes thrown by Tech quarterbacks last season.

Only six receivers in the nation — no tight ends — caught more passes than Amaro.

“I think people underestimate [my route running],” Amaro said. “We had two true freshman quarterbacks throwing me that ball. I caught 106 balls, and people are going to say it’s the scheme of the offense.

“At the same time, you have to be able to get open, and you have to be able to run good routes, and you have to do different things to disguise your route running, and I feel like that’s the best thing I do as a receiver and as a tight end.”

It is a great time to be a tight end in the NFL. Teams are seeking the next Rob Gronkowski and the next Jimmy Graham.

Scouts are looking for exactly what Amaro brought to the Red Raiders. He set an NCAA record for tight ends with 1,352 yards.

“…I feel like I’ve had the greatest tight end season ever in college regarding receiving yards,” Amaro said. “I feel like it’s a great time for me, and I feel like I did what I wanted to in college. I think this is a great chance for me to showcase what I can do in the NFL.

“I think right now people are looking for tight ends to catch more balls than they are to make more blocks.”

Amaro considers himself the top tight end in this year’s class. But most mock drafts have North Carolina’s Eric Ebron as the first tight end off the board. Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas and Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins also rate highly.

“[Amaro] is a big-bodied receiver who has an identity crisis, at times, whether he’s more of a wideout or a tight end, but he knows how to use his body, and he isn’t a fun guy to tackle for defenders,” Dane Brugler, a CBS Sportsline draft analyst, writes.

“Amaro isn’t the most fluid athlete and has room to improve his route running and reliability finishing catches, but he has the physical tools and competitive motivation to be a starting NFL tight end. He is a late first or early second-round pick with a high ceiling.”

Amaro has met with the New England Patriots, who can’t keep Gronkowski healthy and have yet to replace Aaron Hernandez. Amaro is a popular choice for New England at No. 29 in the early mocks.

The Patriots intrigue Amaro, who is training at Frisco EXOS.

“I think that playing with maybe one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game would be a great start for me, especially in a system like that,” said Amaro, whose father, Bob, played tight end for the Red Raiders in 1980. “Yeah, I’ve taken notice of teams like that. I think that would be an ideal place for me.”

His ideal position? Wherever they want him, doing whatever they ask.

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