Friday, May 9, 2014
Jets pick Jace Amaro in 2nd
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The pick: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
My take: The Jets continued their extreme makeover on offense, selecting the most prolific pass-catching tight end in the nation. They can't use the "no weapons" alibi anymore. Amaro joins wide receiver Eric Decker, running back Chris Johnson and quarterback Michael Vick (if he starts) in a new-look offense. The Jets still have Jeff Cumberland at tight end, but Amaro gives them a legitimate threat in the passing game.
Make no mistake, Amaro is a catcher, not a blocker. Consider: 97 of his 106 receptions last season came when he lined up in the slot or a wide receiver position. At 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, Amaro is a big target, but he runs well (4.74 seconds in the 40). He racked up 1,352 yards last season, an FBS record for tight ends. The numbers are deceptive because Texas Tech ran a wide-open, pass-happy offense, but you can't throw a wet blanket on 106 catches. The concern is that he might be a one-year wonder. He was a nonfactor in his first two seasons.
A new dimension: The Jets hadn't drafted a tight end since 2008, when they picked Dustin Keller at the bottom of the first round. Amaro's arrival should allow offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to open up his playbook, incorporating the tight end position into the passing game. A year ago, the Jets didn't use many two-tight end packages at all. Now they can use Cumberland as the traditional "Y" (in-line tight end), with Amaro flexed out as a receiver. Their tight end production was below average last season -- 63 receptions and only six touchdowns. If Amaro is as good as advertised, the beneficiary will be quarterback Geno Smith. Nothing helps a young quarterback more than a reliable tight end who can work the middle of the field.
What's next: The Jets own a third-round pick (80th overall). They could go in a number of directions -- wide receiver, cornerback or pass-rusher.