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As Long as Finley Remains Unsigned, Amaro Could Be Receiving TE Packers Are Missing

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As Long as Finley Remains Unsigned, Amaro Could Be Receiving TE Packers Are Missing

The Green Bay Packers may have made a committment to Andrew Quarless in the offseason, signing him to a two-year contract as a free agent, but he's not the tall, downfield threat at tight end the Packers are missing as long as Jermichael Finley remains unsigned.

Keeping Aaron Rodgers well-stocked with an abudance of weapons will always be a priority in Green Bay, and should the Packers choose to go that route in the first round or two of the upcoming NFL Draft, Texas Tech's Jace Amaro could be a possibility.

"I think it’s a great time for a tight end, and it’s a revolution position and I feel like I’ve had the greatest tight end season ever in college regarding receiving yards," said Amaro at the NFL Combine. "I feel like it’s a great time for me, and I feel like I did what I wanted to in college. I think this is a great chance for me to showcase what I can do in the NFL."

Indeed, Amaro set a major college football (FBS) record last season with 1,352 receiving yards for a player classified as a tight end and did so on 107 catches to go along with seven touchdowns.

For having that kind of production, it's perhaps curious that Amaro wasn't named the John Mackey Award winner as the nation's top tight end, an honor given to Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who had a fraction of the catches and yards with 36 for 450 yards but did have eight touchdowns.

Maybe part of the reason had to do with the ambiguity of Amaro being split out to the slot so often in a quasi-wide receiver role. In addition to being a semi-finalist for the Mackey Award, he was also a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award given to the nation's most outstanding receiver.

Considering the circumstances, it's almost hard to fathom the statistics Amaro put up in 2013, including having two true freshmen throw him the football the vast majority of the season. But the situations he had to overcome on the football field didn't end there.

"In the beginning of the season, (defenses) would play a little man (coverage)," said Amaro. "But after the first or second game was when they bracket coveraged me almost the entire game. It was basically getting totally schemed the entire game. I think that plays a big part of what I really can do, being double teamed the entire year and still pulling the numbers that I did."

Amaro's prolific junior season—he declared for the Draft as an underclassman—is setting him up as a potential late first round draft pick.

"What he needs to do is in today's NFL, you know, at 250, 260 pounds, if you can run 4.5 and catch the football, then you're probably a first round pick," said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock. "And I think that's what he needs to do. He's played that inside slot position at Tech and he's shown an ability and a lot of production."

While Amaro didn't end up running in the 4.5 to 4.6 range in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine (4.74 seconds), he did put up several impressive numbers during his workout. Among the 22 tight ends invited, Amaro finished among the top five in every measured exercise with the exception of the three-cone drill while officially checking in at 6' 5" and 265 lbs.

According Gil Brandt of NFL.com, Amaro improved his 40 time to as fast as 4.68 seconds at his on-campus pro day, where the Packers were one of 20 NFL teams in attendance.

If the Packers were to take Amaro as high as the 21st overall selection where they currently sit, it would be a surprise to many. The Texas Tech product is ranked as the 36th overall prospect by NFLDraftScout.com. But if the Packers don't want to face the potential of Amaro being gone by the next time they're on the clock, maybe they might consider selecting him in the first round.

In order to be selected as high as Round 1, however, the Packers or any NFL team is going to have to be comfortable with Amaro's character. During the Texas Tech's appearance in the 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl, he was ejected for throwing a punch and subsequently suspended for the first half of the 2013 season opener by the Big 12 Conference.

Amaro's next NFL team is also going to have to be content with his blocking, which isn't considered a forté.

With the Packers, Finley never was considered a strong blocking tight end either, but he was the type of big target that could stretch the seam. Head coach Mike McCarthy has said the Packers haven't yet closed the door on bringing Finley back, but he would have to be cleared by doctors first, which has the team taking a wait-and-see approach.

Should the Packers decline to re-sign Finley, perhaps they'll give more serious consideration to Amaro, who thinks he's the best tight end in this year's draft class.

"I think if you think otherwise, you’re not really in it for the right reasons," said Amaro. "I’m coming in here knowing that I’m the best guy out here, and I’m the best available."

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

Photo: Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro by Brian Carriveau

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (50) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jh9's picture

There are only five TEs in this draft better than Quarless and Bostick, and Amaro is one of them. However, to get him the Packers would have to take him in one of the first two rounds and IMO that would be a mistake.

We had the 25th ranked defense last year and we need to shore-up our defense with the first two picks. We need an upgrade at ILB and S and that is where we should spend our first two picks.

Our first pick in the 3rd round could be used on a TE if that TE is one of those five. I expect Amaro to be gone by that point, but Troy Niklas or CJ Fiedorowicz could be available. If that's the case, TT should draft either one of those guys.

JimTaylor31's picture

I don't think we should pass on a potential premium player just because we need an ILB or safety. Even we do draft an ILB and safety in the first two rounds the odds of them making an immediate impact or even an upgrade aren't that great. I say pick the guy who has the best chance of being an impact player and don't worry so much about position. If a good value ILB or safety is there then great. if there's somebody obviously better then go with BPA.

jh9's picture

If we take a premium offensive player with our 2nd round pick and we end up having the 25th ranked defense again in 2014, how will that help win another Lombardi Trophy? Remember, Denver had a great offense last year and look how their season ended.

JimTaylor31's picture

I just don't think we will get that much of an immediate upgrade or impact from a rookie. Especially in Capers' defense. I think D. Jones was the rule and not the exception. Struggle the first year then hopefully make some improvement in year 2 and beyond. This year we will have to count on guys like D. Jones, Hyde, Perry etc. making strides much more so than any rookie. Just my opinion. That's why I think BPA is the way to go in the draft. Keep upgrading the roster with quality players.

jh9's picture

I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. You might be right with your assessment of Capers complex defense, however, history has shown that the majority of time the team with the best balance on both offense and defense wins championships. There can be no argument that defense is the weakness of the Packers. Since TT doesn’t really delve too much into free agency, draft and develop is the only way to go to achieve balance.

JimTaylor31's picture

You are correct in needing balance. TT has drafted quite a bit on defense lately and it's time for some of these guys to take some steps forward and hopefully stay healthy. I'm thinking D. Jones, Perry, Hyde, Daniels, Hayward etc. will take some steps forward, stay healthy and many of the problems on defense will start to go away. Not all, but many. I just don't think we can expect rookies to come in and save the day. Rookies who can walk in the door and make an immediate impact are by far the exception and not the rule.

Nick Perry's picture

I think Worthy, Perry, Hyde, Jones, Boyd, and even Raji back at NT will take steps forward. The battle for the Packers will be HEALTH, which you mentioned before. Just imagine the Packers being able to start say 20 of their preferred 22 starters for the season. If this defense could just stay healthy for a change, the Packers could be a top 5 defense.

Amaro would be a great addition to the Packers IMO. Defenses like the 49ers, Seahawks, even Cardinals have the linebackers to take a TE like Quarless completely out of a game, we saw it in last years playoffs 1 catch 8 yards. While the Packers have obvious needs at Safety and ILB, they also have a need at TE, WR, and Center. At 21, Amaro wouldn't be much of a reach at all. I think he'll go in first round no matter what. If Mosley, Clinton-Dix, and Pryor are gone, Amaro wouldn't be a bad pick. I know a lot of folks love Shazier, my only concern is his size. I read that he'll get swallowed up by fullbacks, before that I was loving Shazier.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I like the Niklas guy out of ND in the later rounds. Remember,we have a killer running game now. We don't need a Finely clone. 6"7 270 lbs and ENJOYS blocking.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Oh,sh*t,he's related to Clay Mathews!

Brian Carriveau's picture

He's related to Jake Matthews, not Clay Matthews:
http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/new-nfl-royalty-matthews-bloodlines-pervadi...

DrealynWilliams's picture

Oh.

This announcer for the ND v. USC game said he was Clay's cousin.

Stroh's picture

Niklas in the "later" rounds? Like what round is late enough for you? If its not the 2nd he'll be long gone. I don't know about you or others, but I consider the 2nd to be an Early round.

I don't mind getting a dual threat TE. But there are only a couple that might even qualify as good blockers and receivers. Niklas and maybe CJ Fed.

Personally I'm inclined to go w/ Quarless and Bostic to see how they develop. If they don't draft a TE next year. Unless Thompson can unearth a late round gem. But a late round gem is what Quarless could be and Bostic might be.

DrealynWilliams's picture

3rd. He's only had 1 season as a stater and he's recovering from an injury.

That's if the Pack are interested. If so,I'd hope he fell to the 3rd (and don't act like players don't fall).

If Quarless can get back to or close to the form he was before the injury I'd like the 1-2 punch of he and Bostic (Bostic being the better receiving TE). We haven't had a prideful run-blocking TE since Crab.

Stroh's picture

Crab's run blocking his last year in GB was bad. Early in his career he kinda made a name for himself blocking and playing physical. He didn't continue that work tho.

I'm not in favor of drafting a TE this year. I want to see how much Q and Bostic can contribute. Both are players that need to be given a chance to show if they can be the TE we need.

I haven't really looked but what injury does he have. It would probably have to something more than a pulled hammy to push him down to the end of the 3rd where that Packers pick. IF he does fall that far, he would be the right choice. There proably just as good a chance he goes higher than expected. His size and physicality are going to appeal to teams quite a bit.

He wouldn't be among the players I would most want to see at #53, but I wouldn't be upset about it either. He's a Gronk lite of sorts w/ his size and physicality. Being stuck behind Tyler Eifert (a 1st rd pick) shouldn't cost him IMO.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I'm rooting for Quarless and Bostic as well. That's why if the Pack are interested in a TE I hope it will come after the first 2 or maybe even 3 picks. The starting spot wouldn't be handed to him.

It's kind of unfair to only judge Crab off of his last year in GB. I believe his snaps increased and role changed that year. It was Finley and Crabtree.

I'm not sure they type of injury. I just see the icon on the side of his name on CBSsports.com

Stroh's picture

I didn't judge Crabtree on just the one year. He did some good things for the Packers and early in his career he was a very good run blocker. Either way it was the right decision to let him leave. He had maxed out and wasn't going to be a guy that was a starting TE. He played well for the Packers, but he was a role player and as such they let him leave since others could play his role. Quarless in particular was better than Crabtree in just about every way.

4thand1's picture

Quarless was better than Quarless?

Stroh's picture

fixed.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Oh,I definitely wasn't trying to come off as saying letting Crabtree walk was a bad move. I too think he reached his ceiling and didn't bring much else to the table. I was just vouching for his run-blocking and toughness. We haven't had that at the TE position since he left.

4thand1's picture

Mel Kiper has the Packers picking Shazier in round 1

4thand1's picture

Ok, who's the asswipe disliking all my posts. LMAO.

4thand1's picture

GOPACKGO!

The TKstinator's picture

And just who the heck is this "Mel Kiper"?

HankScorpio's picture

It all comes down to how the Packers assess Amaro's talent. If he's BPA, they should not hesitate.

TE is like many spots in that it could use an upgrade but there is no need to force a pick that isn't warranted by scouting evaluation. Doing that is ultimately self-defeating, anyway.

MarkinMadison's picture

Since BPA is always relative there is really no way to talk intelligently about it v. a particular pick at this point, IMHO. All you can really do is look at a guy and say if you think he is worth picking in a given round. My gut check would be "no" on Amaro until the top of the 3rd.

Jordan's picture

I agree.

I'm guessing 4th or 5th round for TE. But if somebody falls..it could be third and not out of the question they would move up in the round.

Stroh's picture

I don't see the point of another late rd pick on a TE. We have enough developmental TE prospects. Quarless, Bostic, Stoneburner... Do we really need to add more of them? We need to find out what we have in those guys. Adding another just takes reps away from a lot of other players that need them too. And there's already plenty of competition there.

Only way I would take a TE is if Niklas falls to our 3rd or maybe CJ Fed falls to our 4th round picks. Otherwise I wouldn't take yet another developmental guy.

Give Quarless and Bostic this year to see how they develop and use the pick on another position. WR needs depth a lot more than TE does.

ben's picture

Quarless has performed & impressed since his rookie year with the pack. He still has some under-rated upside left.

Don't sleep on Stoneburner, he's a real talent and except for that fumble, he did well from training camp on. I think he's going to suprise a lot of people when he gets his opportunity.

With Bostick back, the TE position is actually looking pretty good. I like Amaro a lot but hope we don't invest anything but a flyer in the 5th or later. All of the freakiest TE prospects; Colt Lyerla, AC Leonard, & my favorite Blake Annen are late rounders anyway.

Quarless
6'5"254lbs, 4.57 40, 1.58 10ydsplit, 4.57 shuttle, 7.29 cone, 23 reps.
Stoneburner
6'4"253lbs, 4.53 40, 1.59 10ydsplit, 4.27 shuttle, 7.12 cone, 18 reps.
Bostick
6'3"243lbs, 4.59 40, 1.67 10ydsplit, 4.25 shuttle, 7.41 cone, 19 reps.
Blake Annen
6'4"247lbs, 4.41 40, 1.61 10ydsplit, 4.30 shuttle, 7.19 cone, 25 reps.

MarkinMadison's picture

Throw up Finley's combine numbers and see how he compares.

6'5" 243 (coming out, 260 now) 4,82 40 (reported low of 4.65), 1.65 split, 7.15 cone, 20 reps.

Also, remember that before he had neck issues he had knee issues. and it took a couple of years to refine his route running and to begin to produce at his pre-injury level again. And then the hands. There was a period of time when his drops and Jones' drops were equally aggravating. Honestly, I've always had a hard time with him. Everyone LOVED his potential. Fans, Packers you name it. Teams are sniffing him out right now. I'm just not sure at all that he is worth the roster spot or the money.

Interesting article on Amaro: http://seahawksdraftblog.com/thoughts-on-jace-amaro-te-texas-tech

Nick Perry's picture

I agree Mark, the Packers have been waiting for the Finley from the Playoff loss following the 2009 season against Arizona. 2010 was the injury and 2011 and half of 2012 was all the drops. He finished strong in 2012 and was off to a great start last year, but not worth the contract for $15 million over 2 years IMO. Amaro would be a perfect fit in the Packers offense and give the Packers that huge target in the Red Zone. It will be interesting if Shazier, Mosley, Pryor, and Clinton-Dix are all gone at 21 where Ted goes.

4thand1's picture

The Finley era is officially over.

Nick Perry's picture

Yup

ben's picture

The Packer have ZERO non-starters who can return kicks on their roster.

Here he comes!

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/eye-on-football/24529781/report-49ers-shopp...

RC Packer Fan's picture

lol.
As soon as I saw this article, I thought of you Ben.

Stroh's picture

Packers already have Franklin and Harris that are very much in the James mold. And KO returns w/ the new rules could become obsolete.

ben's picture

Kicks & PUNTS. Franklin and Harris can do neither. I've seen them try.

There is Offense, Defense, & Special Teams. You just can't ignore 1 of the 3 phases of the game. We have options @ safety (Hyde,Sean,Banjo), ILB (Hawk,Jones,Clay,Lattimore), TE (Qaurless,Burner,Bostick) & Center (Tretter,Barclay). KR is the Packer's most GLARING need. And a fairly important one.

Stroh's picture

Hyde and Cobb are quite good at PR. No reason to trade for a RB that is the same as what we have and his only role would basically be a PR. Not ignoring ST at all, but make a trade for a player that will only provide PR? Not a F'in chance. The NFL is basically in the process of eliminating ST. KO, might take out Extra points... They consider ST to be especially dangerous and w/ the safety conscious vew they have it will be soon that all ST plays might be eliminated.

Gotta see the tea leave, grasshopper!

Your obsession w/ James is clouding your judgement.

ben's picture

You generally don't want a down in and down out starter returning kicks and punts. (sorry to insult everybody with stating the obvious but stroh is pretending again)

What does extra points have to do with anything?

So no special teams the next couple years?

Blah blah blah, Not a F'n chance? Grasshopper?

I'm clouding your judgement stroh.

Stroh's picture

Generally, but that doesn't mean you can't! Dieon Sanders did it his entire career and he was a superstar. Woodson did it for quite a few years and he was an All Pro. Tramon Williams did it at times when he was a starter.

I didn't say no ST in a couple years, I said they were "in the process", meaning gradually phasing ST out. If you don't see that your more dense than your buddy Bernice the Baker!

You should learn to be a less of a JA and start acting like you know it all! YOU DON'T!!

James has little value, which is why SF is so ready to get rid of him after 2 years! Lets start using a little common sense instead of being JA.

More football less acting like you know everything! Yours is only YOUR opinion, it means SQUAT!

ben's picture

So Generally I'm right but, blah blah blah

you fucking idiot

Stroh's picture

So nothing...

You couldn't be more WRONG! I'll go ahead and make a guarantee for you. Thompson Will NOT Trade for James! Guaranteed... He might pick him up when he gets released but I give that about a 10% chance of happening!

Wrong Again Ben...

Nick Perry's picture

A Special Teams Coach is the Packers most glaring need. IMO Cobb should never be put in to be a KR/PR duties again unless they absolutely have no one else, the game is on the line, and the kick or punt must be fielded cleanly. Anyone remember Jeremy Ross? Under Slocum the guy couldn't field a kick or punt if his life depended on it. As soon as he goes to Detroit he averages 16.2 on PR and 29.3 on KR in 10 games for the Lions. We saw his potential late in 2012, we had a returner. He fumbles in the Wildcard game which really turned that whole game, and it seemed to carry into last year. How Slocum is still employed is mind boggling to me.

ben's picture

2014 53 Man Depth Chart (+1 practice squader)

TRADE1: Scott Tolzien(QB, 25pts), Jon Franklin(RB, 25), Round3Pick21(165) = 215pts } for { Cleveland's: Round4pick6(92), Round4pick27(49), Round5pick5(40), Round6pick4(26)= 207pts

TRADE2: Brad Jones(ILB/OLB) } for { 49er's: LaMichael James(KR, RB), Craig Dahl($1.3million, S)

QB: Rodgers, Flynn, Connor Shaw(Round5pick21)
RB: Lacey, DuJuan, Starks, LaMichael James(KR)
FB: Kuhn, (Practice Squad: FB: Karl Williams(Round7pick21))
WR: Cobb, Jordy, Boykin, Harper, [Abbrederis/Dri Archer/Jeff Janis/Cody Latimer](Round4pick21)
TE: Quarless, Stoneburner, Bostick, Blake Annen(Round5pick5)
OL: Bakhtiari, Sitton, Tretter, Lang, Bulaga, Barclay, Sharrod, [Laurent Duvernay-Tardif/Russell Bodine](Round4pick6)
DL: Daniels, Peppers, Raji, Datone, Boyd, Jolly, Zak Kerr(Round6Pick4), Beau Allen(Round6pick21)
LB: Neal, Hawk, Matthews, Perry, Ryan Shazier(Round1pick21), Carlos Fields Jr.(compensatory5th), Lattimore, Mulumba
CB: Shields, Davon, Heyward, Phillip Gaines(Compensatory3rd), Nixon
S: Burnett, Hyde, Richardson, Dezmen Southward(Round4pick27)
ST: Crosby, Masthay
Round2pick21 - [ CB:Jason Verrett, LB:Kyle VanNoy, or S:Deone Bucannon/Jimmy Ward ]

DrealynWilliams's picture

I thought we got past this LaMichael James thing???

Why draft Archer and trade for James (or vice versa)?

I wouldn't take touches from Lacy/Starks/Harris/Franklin to give to James.

I wouldn't take targets away from Nelson/Cobb/Boykin to give to Archer.

4thand1's picture

I think Ben's last name may be James.

ben's picture

because there's 2 kick returners when returning kicks?

in the probable case one gets hurt?

I would take touches away from starks, harris, and franklin to give to James. James is a much better pure running back than starks, even harris, and certainly the overrated Franklin.

Sorry homers, I know Franklin wears a pretty Green and Gold uniform, but he won't be in the league in 4 years.

Stroh's picture

Not being "homers" we just happen to have a different opinion than you. Your opinion, is YOURS only. James has done little in the NFL, which is probably why SF is so quick to dump him after 2 years!

BTW most teams use only 1 KR, not 2...

COW's picture

..."but he won't be in the league in 4 years."

Actually, it might not take even that long.

Nick Perry's picture

That's where you're wrong Ben. Franklin will contribute in a big way to the Packers offense this year. I'm not being a homer either, I watched many of that kids games living in Los Angeles. He's a hell of a football player and you'll start to see why in the passing game this year.

4thand1's picture

Happy Easter everyone, stuff yourselves with ham, sit on the couch and buy a beach body workout video for summer. I've gained 10 lbs this winter. See you after draft day. No football sucks.

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