NFL Prospect Focus: C.J. Fiedorowicz and Jace Amaro
To date I haven’t written that many tight ends, so I thought it would be a good idea to talk about two totally different types of players at the position. Iowa’s Fiedorowicz is your old fashioned throw back “Y” tight end while Texas Tech’s Amaro is among the new breed of athletic tight ends that we are seeing more and more of.
C.J. Fiedorowicz – Tight End – Iowa
Fiedorowicz is a fourth year senior and a two-and-a-half year starter at Iowa. His most productive year as a receiver came in 2012 when he caught 45 passes for 433 yards. This year he had 30 receptions fo 299 yards and six TDs.
C.J. has great size for the position. At the Senior Bowl he measured 6055 – 262 with huge hands (10 5/8). He is a well built kid with good muscular development. As an athlete, C.J. shows good overall athleticism and body control to go along with better than adequate speed for the position. I estimate that he will run around 4.70 at the Combine.
Iowa plays form mostly a pro set with some spread thrown in. They use two tight ends, often, in their scheme. Most of the time, C.J. is lined up in tight as a “Y”, but he does flex out also. As a blocker, he comes off the ball quickly and can stay low. He makes good initial contact and can keep his feet moving to finish. He has the strength and power to turn and seal his opponent and can also gain some movement. He shows he can play with bend but will get tall on occasion. He does a good job with his hands and keeps them inside.
As a receiver, he is used mostly on short routes. He has a good release and can get in and out of a cut with good quickness. He knows his to use his size to shield a defender and has a good receiving radius. With his huge hands, he catches the ball easily and can extend to make the difficult catch. On seam routes, he shows he can get some separation, but I don’t see him as a top deep receiving threat. After the catch, he is a strong runner who can break tackles and get yards after contact.
I see Fiedorowicz as being a “Y” tight end in the NFL. His blocking is good enough to help the run game. He is not going to be the big play tight end that we now are seeing in the league, but he is the kind of player that every team needs and are becoming harder to find. With his size and blocking skills, he is going to play early in his career and probably start as a rookie. Because “blocking” tight ends are becoming harder to find, he has high value and should go somewhere in the second round. If he runs better than I expect, that will only push up his stock.
Jace Amaro – Tight End – Texas Tech
If Webster’s had a definition for “tight end”, Amaro would not fit the description. The way he is used at Texas Tech fits the definition of a slot receiver more than a tight end. In all the tape I looked at, I only saw Amaro lined up “tight” a few times. On most plays, he is the inside slot receiver.
Amaro is listed as being 6050 – 260. If he really is 260, he holds his weight very well. I would guess he is closer to 250. Still, he is very athletic for a big guy and has excellent speed and body control. I would estimate his speed at 4.58 – 4.60. He is quick off the line and is a very good route runner. He can break down and get in and out of cuts very quickly for a big guy. On the shorter one-cut routes, he consistently gains separation. He has the play speed to get open on post and flag routes versus defensive backs. He has very good hands and can adjust to the ball. He is a competitive and tough kid who consistently competes for the ball in traffic. After the catch, he has a quick burst to pull away and has the quick feet and moves to make a defender miss. He uses his size well and can easily break tackles. Jace was Texas Tech’s number one receiver in 2013. He caught 106 passes for 1352 yards and seven TDs. He is an instant mismatch because of his size and athleticism.
As a blocker, he looks like a big wide receiver blocking. He can use his hands and can stay with a block but he is not overly physical. Most of his blocks are in the open field. There were a few plays in short yardage where he lined up tight and showed he can come off the ball and explode into a defender but you don’t see enough of these plays to really be able to grade his in line blocking skills.
Amaro is the type of “tight end” that most NFL teams are now looking for. He has the speed and athleticism to play split out and can really be called a jumbo wide receiver. I see him easily getting drafted in the first round and I expect him to contribute very early in his rookie year.
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