As the NFL draft quickly approaches, sports writers and Kansas City Chiefs fans have been debating long and hard about who the Chiefs will select with the 23rd pick in this year’s draft. After their numerous losses to free agency, it is clear that the Chiefs need help at wide receiver, safety, and offensive guard. Much has been written about those positions; however, given the injuries to Chiefs’ tight ends last year, it is worth considering the tight ends in this year’s draft class.
Jace Amaro from Texas Tech University is an interesting prospect for the Chiefs. A unanimous All-American, he declared for the draft after his junior campaign, which saw him lead the Big 12 in receptions and finish second in receiving yards. Amaro flourished in Texas Tech’s spread offense, where tight ends are used as more of a slot receiver. Blessed with size (6’5” and 265 lbs.) and decent hands, he was able to take advantage of smaller defensive backs, especially in the middle of the field and the red zone, where he caught 7 touchdowns for the Red Raiders in 2013.
The Chiefs in 2013 lacked a true slot receiver, and never had anyone who could really open the field for Dwayne Bowe, Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith. With the right coaching, Amaro could essentially be a bigger Wes Welker, capable of taking advantage of Alex Smith’s accuracy and short passes. He can also run after the catch and is tough to bring down due to his size.
Amaro’s downsides include a lack of blocking experience (he blocks more like a wide receiver than a tight end), and he is a little slow (he ran the 40 yard dash in 4.74 seconds). He is projected as a late first-round or second-round pick. Since the Chiefs do not have a second round pick this year, they would likely need to use their first round pick to draft him.
Considering the injuries to Travis Kelce and Anthony Fasano last year, as well as the need for a capable wide receiver to complement Bowe, Amaro could would be an interesting selection for the Chiefs, if he is still available at the 23rd pick. Andy Reid would be able to use Amaro in multiple tight end sets, something he was not able to utilize very effectively last year.
Amaro might have more value as a slot receiver than as a tight end. And in addition to Kelce and Fasano, the Chiefs also have Sean McGrath and his majestic beard (below) on the roster. I believe that Amaro could find a spot on Andy Reid’s offense.
What do you think? Go Chiefs!