By drafting Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro with the 49th pick of the 2014 NFL draft, the Jets have set themselves up for the possibility of running a two-tight end offense, similar to the Patriots offense from 2010-2012.
New England made the two-tight-end offense wildly popular with tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland is no Gronkowski, but Amaro may be the closest thing on the field to Hernandez, and he adds a great over-the-middle, run-and-catch presence to the Jets offense.
Amaro caught 106 passes in 2013, the third-most in a single season in Texas Tech history. His 1,352 receiving yards were the second-most in a single season in school history.
Amaro is not a true in-line tight end that lines up as the Y next to the tackle and is responsible for blocking defensive ends and setting the edge against the run. He spends more of his time lining up in the slot, and at 6'5" and 265 pounds, Amaro has the frame to create matchup problems over the middle and in the red zone. Like Hernandez, Amaro is too athletic to be covered by linebackers and too big to be covered by defensive backs.
If the Jets wanted to add to their offense, though, why not a receiver? Both Cody Latimer (Indiana) and Davante Adams (Fresno State) were still on the board.
|Jets projected two-tight end alignment|
|Jace Amaro||F (move/"Joker"/receiving TE)|
|Jeff Cumberland||Y (In-line tight end)|
|Eric Decker||X (boundary receiver)|
|Jeremy Kerley||Z (boundary receiver) or slot|
|Source: my head|
The Jets made the right decision by focusing on the best player instead of the position of greater need. In a two-tight end offense, Amaro fits in nicely and complements the team's other pass-catchers well.
Now, the Jets have a number of pass-catchers that fit into their offense. Eric Decker is interchangeable between the X and Z receiver spots, and Jeremy Kerley can play either the boundary or the slot.
Make no mistake, the Jets should still be thinking about grabbing another wide receiver, preferably one who can play on the boundary and threaten all parts of the field. There aren't many of that type of receiver left on the board, though, so it may be high time for the Jets to jump on the opportunity to grab one as soon as possible.
If the Jets want a receiver with the ability to line up on the outside, Martavis Bryant (Clemson) and Donte Moncrief (Mississippi) were still on the board after Round 2. That being said, the wide receiver spot is drying up pretty quickly, and an NFL-record 12 receivers were drafted in the first two rounds this year.
In building toward that two tight-end offense, the Jets have given young quarterback Geno Smith a pair of reliable tight ends over the middle in addition to Kerley as a slot receiver. Tight ends are a young quarterback's best friend, and the Jets made sure Smith still had two best friends after losing Kellen Winslow as a free agent this offseason.
For now, the Jets can take comfort in knowing that they can add some new wrinkles to their offense in 2014—the likes of which their opponents have not yet seen.
Erik Frenz is also a Patriots/AFC East writer for Boston.com.