With the 12th overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft, the New York Giants select…
In the 2013 NFL season, the New York Giants offense looked lost. A lot of critics like to blame the offensive line for not giving Eli enough time in the pocket, which was a huge issue. If you look deeper though, it was much more than the offensive line alone accounting for their anemic offense. Manning didn’t have a true big body target to throw to all season long. For the first time since his rookie season in 2004, Eli Manning through more interceptions than touchdown passes (18 TD’s 27 Int’s). His completion percentage has been on a steady decline for four straight years and stooped all the way down to 57.5% this season.
Many analysts and ‘experts’ have the Giants taking an offensive lineman in the first round of this year’s draft, noting it would be the best way to start addressing their offensive woes. This wouldn’t necessarily be a bad idea for Big Blue, but I doubt we would see an immediate impact with another first round O-Line pick. Can an offensive tackle catch 106 passes for over 1300 yards and seven TD’s? That is a rhetorical question; don’t feel the need to actually answer.
On a serious note, a beastly tight-end named Jace Amaro did just that last season for the Texas Tech Red Raiders in route to an NCAA record-breaking year.
For those of you not familiar with the Red Raider, here are some facts you ought to know about him leading up to draft day. Amaro had an eight game stretch this past season where he recorded 76 catches for 993 yards. Those giant (pun intended) numbers were accomplished in only one half of an NFL regular season. Amaro is almost a carbon copy of a man who wore #89 and played tight-end for the New York Giants, their last names even rhyme. He was also an integral part of their two Super Bowl championship teams in the late 80’s.
They can both be seen making spectacular catches in critical moments of big games and dragging multiple defenders for extra yards before going down. A few differences between the two; Amaro is bigger, faster and a more talented receiver than Mark Bavaro. Amaro’s versatility is also a huge weapon; he can line up in the slot as a receiver, he is a good enough blocker to seal the edge on an outside run and you can even line him up in the backfield as a fullback or get him out into space for screen passes due to his rare size/speed combination.
Everyone formulating mock drafts and constructing their pre-draft analysis of the tight-end position is not even mentioning Amaro. This is largely in part to the hype surrounding Eric Ebron, the #1 ranked tight-end entering the 2014 draft out of UNC. Ebron is a fantastic athlete and has made some spectacular grabs, but he struggles in areas of great concern for the Giants. He is not very physical and is too easily redirected on his routes by defenders, a trait that can throw off the entire development of a designed play. I think Ebron will struggle with a physical corner at the line of scrimmage, such as Richard Sherman and the larger defensive backs that have been springing up throughout the NFL. He doesn’t have the power to block defensive ends in the NCAA let alone the NFL.
From a big play stand point, I would give the upper hand to Ebron. He has the speed to get behind defenses and is leaner and more elusive than Amaro. Many draw the comparison to Vernon Davis with his raw talent as a wide receiver and lateral movement ability in a tight ends body. If you want consistent production every week and a stellar goal line target, Amaro is the man you want. He is a polished route runner with soft hands who will change the way a defense can play their game. It is actually comical watching defenses trying to find a way to stop him. He is too big and strong for defensive backs and too fast for most line-backers. He uses his thick frame to gain proper positioning in coverage and works back as a great safety blanket for a quarterback under duress (note Eli Manning’s 2013 season)
Eli Manning has a tendency to throw high to tight ends. He over-threw now ex-giant Brandon Myers by just an inch or two many times last season, which resulted in several interceptions. Myers 6-3 compared to Amaro’s long 6-5 is the type of subtle size difference that turns a tipped ball interception into a catch and a game winning drive. Manning hasn’t had a true big target to throw to since Plaxico Burress departed. Sure they’ve had some big body, productive tight end’s who have had some success with Manning, but they come and go. Drafting a talent like Jace Amaro and developing him would pay huge dividends for Big Blue. A true third down target and goal line threat that will give NFL defenses fits. He would also alleviate the attention and double teams that Victor Cruz and the other wide-outs face regularly.
If the Giants decide to take a chance with Amaro, although many would disagree with selecting him this early, he would have an immediate impact on this offense, more so than any other offensive player in the draft. With Ben McAdoo now calling the plays for Big Blue’s offense and his expertise with developing tight-end’s, what better way could you equip him than with a match-up nightmare at that crucial position in his offensive scheme. I’ll assure you this; the Giants may be so desperate to address the O-line that the safe play would be to select the best available player at that position. Just don’t be surprised when a team gets the steel of the draft in Jace Amaro, and someone like the Patriot’s snag him up and reap the benefits for years to come. Jace Amaro, rookie of the year, don’t be surprised when it happens and don’t overlook him.
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