INDIANAPOLIS — As teams try to pull off their best impersonation of the New England Patriots' two-tight end offense circa 2010-12, tight ends like Texas Tech's Jace Amaro will be the object of affection for his athleticism and ability to create matchup problems.
On Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium, Amaro participated in the scouting combine workouts along with the rest of the tight ends who were invited to Indianapolis. He had a chance to put that athleticism on display, and he delivered with one of the top five finishes among tight ends in both the 40-yard dash and the 225-pound bench press.
Here's a rundown of his numbers and measurements from Indianapolis.
|Height||Weight||Arm length||Hand size||40-yard dash||Bench press||Broad jump|
|6'5"||265 pounds||34"||9"||4.74 seconds||28 reps||118"|
The official time of a 4.74-second 40-yard dash is not as high as some scouts and pundits might like to see from a tight end who is considered more of a pass-catcher than a road-grading blocker, but Bleacher Report NFL associate editor Ian Kenyon doesn't seem too worried about it.
4.62 is a really good time for Jace Amaro. No idea why anyone would complain about that. Dude is 265 pounds.— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) February 22, 2014
Indeed, his speed and athleticism showed up frequently on the field in pads, which is more important than his ability to run fast in shorts and a T-shirt in perfect circumstances with an ideal start and no additional information racing through his head, like what defense he's facing or what kind of coverage he's getting.
His day on the field in Indianapolis was not perfect; He dropped some passes in the gauntlet drill, in which a pass-catcher runs the width of the field while catching passes in alternating directions—left and right—all the way across the field. Bleacher Report NFL draft lead writer Matt Miller points out one reason why he might have had a few more drops than expected.
I love the Gauntlet drill, but it's incredibly tough for TE/WRs to adjust to QBs they've never worked with before.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 22, 2014
None of this should prevent Amaro from being drafted in the first round. In fact, he has already met with the New England Patriots, where he's been heavily projected to be drafted in early mock drafts.
"It was good," Amaro said of the meeting. "They broke my tape down, and it looked like they liked me a lot. They said I fit their system very well, so I guess we'll see how it goes. It's a hard organization to ignore, what they've had with the success at the tight end position. It's something that I'd like to bring along, to be in a system like that, whatever team it is."
Amaro is pegged as a fringe first-round pick, which would put him in perfect territory for the Patriots to pounce. The Patriots are familiar with players of his skill set, and they're in need of one as well; Amaro has been compared to former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.
There's some doubt as to whether he'll even last that long; Rob Rang of CBS Sports projected him to be drafted by the Arizona Cardinals with the 20th pick in the draft, but that projection seems less likely after Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians pointed out on Friday his preference is for a tight end who can "block first."
His production in the passing game, however, speaks for itself. He led the Big 12 in receptions (106) and receiving yards (1,352), and tied for second on the team with seven touchdowns.
Wherever he lands, he is capable of making an immediate impact in the passing game. Any team looking for a versatile, athletic tight end would be foolish not to look very closely at Amaro.