While it may have took a bit longer than most New York Jets fans would have liked, the Jets' patience has paid off as they are able to snag tight end Jace Amaro with the 49th overall pick.
Amaro was rarely used as a blocker in Texas Tech's spread attack, but the Jets did not draft him because they need help in the blocking game. Amaro is a prototypical "joker" tight end that can be moved all over the line of scrimmage, whether it be detached or attached to the formation.
At 6'5", 265 pounds, Amaro moves like a slow slot receiver at the size of an outside linebacker, making him a nightmare to match up against for both safeties and linebackers. He has the strength and catching radius to overpower defensive backs, as well as the movement ability and speed to make defenses pay for thinking they can cover him with a linebacker.
Amaro is not quite the speedster in the mold of a player like Vernon Davis (few are at his position), but he is excellent at what he does well—getting open, catching the ball and moving the chains, which is something many of the Jets' receivers had trouble doing in 2013.
Not only did the Jets get great value for the 49th pick—he was projected to go as early as the late first round by many analysts—he fills what could be argued as the biggest need area on the team.
Amaro's production is difficult to ignore. Dealing with shaky quarterback play, he caught 106 passes for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns—simply impeccable numbers from the tight end position.
Prior to the draft, the Jets were set to enter the season with the lone, unproven and injury-prone Jeff Cumberland as the only tight end with a respectable amount of experience. With Amaro in the fold, the Jets have security with a player that may already be the top tight end on the roster before getting fitted for a uniform.
Amaro will likely start the offseason behind Cumberland, but before the end of training camp, there is no reason to believe that Amaro is not capable of beating out Cumberland for the starting tight end job. Even if Amaro is not technically the starter by opening day, he will certainly eat into Cumberland's playing time before he eventually assumes the starting role, whether it be this year or 2015.
"We had two true freshman quarterbacks throwing me that ball. I caught 106 balls." - Jace Amaro on last season.— Dan Leberfeld (@jetswhispers) May 10, 2014
The only way to nitpick at this selection is that it still does not solve the Jets' need for a blocking tight end. The Jets did not have a quality blocking tight end on the roster entering the draft, and the addition of Amaro does nothing to help them in this area, at least in the immediate future.
Amaro may not have much experience as a blocker, but that does not mean he cannot eventually learn how to at least be a serviceable one with some professional coaching. After all, Amaro has the size and physical ability to block. All he needs is some experience and coaching to learn the techniques necessary to hold up defensive ends and linebackers.
if Amaro can become a serviceable blocker at the next level, he will be the complete tight end that Dustin Keller never quite developed into.
After a bit of a head-scratching pick in the first round with Calvin Pryor, the Jets are able to get tremendous value in the following round at a position of need without having to trade up the board—an ideal situation for a Jets team with a plethora of needs to fill.