In his final season at Texas Tech, tight end Jace Amaro blazed his way to the record books, setting single season NCAA records in receiving yards and yards per game at the tight end position. That production led to his selection by the New York Jets with the 49th pick in this year’s draft. It is widely known that he played in a pass-happy offense, and because of that fact, he is not expected to put up similarly large numbers in the NFL. Just how much he will produce at the next level is the big question, and the one I am here to debate tonight.
Amaro has all of the tools to make it in the NFL. Size, speed, hands, smarts. He is built like a prototypical tight end, and that will only work to his advantage as he faces up against slower linebackers.
At Texas Tech, Amaro played in the slot much of the time, and it is unreasonable to expect him to do the same in the NFL. He will most likely line up on the line of scrimmage, banging against defensive linemen as he makes his way up the field. That will surely hinder his production, but not render him ineffective.
Let’s face it. Amaro will not be featured in the offense, as he was at Texas Tech. There are just too many viable weapons at Geno Smith’s disposal, and Amaro, though a tempting option for his size and skill, will not be the first player Smith will throw to when he is in trouble. Also, Amaro is sure to be splitting time at the position with incumbent Jeff Cumberland, who has knowledge of the playbook and previously existing chemistry with Smith. That means, by default, that Amaro will get fewer looks, and therefore, will produce less.
On the other hand, a player of Amaro’s talent is something the Jets have been lacking for a few years now. He gives them an appetizing option at tight end, and at the very least, he will force opposing defenses to respect the position and drop another man into coverage, which will benefit the rushing game. The Jets should not waste any time in inserting Amaro into the starting lineup as soon as he learns the playbook. Until then, he will come off of the bench while Cumberland will receive most of the snaps.
Tight end is one of the most complicated positions in the NFL. The tight end needs to be aware of the blocking scheme on a rush play, their route on a passing play, and he needs to recognize match-ups and make adjustments on the fly. The pace of the NFL level will take some time to adjust to, but once Amaro feels comfortable, he can become an offensive weapon on the field. This may not occur this season, but maybe next, or the season after that. For now, I predict Amaro to have 310 receiving yards and 28 catches in his rookie season. Debate that.