30 for 29: A look at 30 prospects the Patriots may consider selecting with the 29th overall pick at the 2014 NFL Draft.
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
6-4, 260 pounds, 6/26/92
2013: 106 receptions, 1,352 yards, 7 TDs
Native of Plano, Texas. Amaro is coming out after a statistically phenomenal junior season. Went to high school in San Antonio. Suffered a lacerated spleen and broken rib as a sophomore and was booted out of Tech’s bowl game for throwing a punch. Had an arrest for credit card fraud in March 2013 after using another kid’s credit card to buy alcohol.
Amaro said it was a misunderstanding. Took some big hits in 2013 and received praise for his toughness.
TO THE GOOD
Amaro, along with Eric Ebron of North Carolina, is the premier pass-catching tight end in the draft. Fluid route-runner and has some initial shiftiness after the catch. Catches the ball naturally and with soft hands. Very good balance. Verstile, having played a huge numbers of snaps in the slot while also being lined up wide and, occasionally in Texas Tech’s spread offense, in tight. Has production numbers and leadership ability.
TO THE BAD
Not explosively fast. Most of his action is down the seam and on crossing routes at Tech so determining how he’ll do when asked to highpoint the ball is hard to establish. Rounds off some routes which prevents him from getting first-step separation coming out of break. Can sometimes be a tentative blocker, more like a big wideout. Needs better ball security when carting ball in open field. Will be interesting to see how well he manages against competition that is much more physically even with him than he’s seen in college.
He’s been a vogue prediction for the Patriots in mock drafts since the pre-draft process began. As a successor to Aaron Hernandez, Amaro has some similarities in size, pass-catching prowess and versatility. The Patriots missed having a big-bodied player who could be deployed in a variety of ways in 2013 and Amaro is probably the best prospect (or Ebron) for this. Is he physical and sudden enough to shield or outleg linebackers and safeties? That’s really up for debate. He has to be able to do one or the other, though. Only the rarest tight ends – Rob Gronkowski being the best example – can do both.
Pat Kirwan: No. 32 to Seattle
NFL.com: Not a first-rounder