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Texas Tech's Jace Amaro surprises in bench press

For a guy considered a finesse tight end, Texas Tech's Jace Amaro had an impressive bench press workout Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Amaro, who measured 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds at the combine weigh-in, had 106 receptions in 2013 and set an NCAA record for receiving yards by a tight end with 1,352. But while he is a top-notch receiver -- he lined up wide about 80 percent of the time for the Red Raiders -- his blocking is a concern for some teams.

If nothing else, he showed Friday that he is surprisingly strong, with 28 reps of 225 pounds. That's an impressive number for a guy whose arm length is 34 inches. Generally, the shorter your arms, the easier it is to lift.

Amaro, North Carolina's Eric Ebron and Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins are considered the top three tight ends in the draft, and Amaro's bench press results were much better than those of Ebron and Seferian-Jenkins. Ebron (6-4, 250, 33 1/4) had 24 reps, and Seferian-Jenkins (6-5, 262, 33 3/4) had 20.

Ebron and Seferian-Jenkins are considered more athletic than Amaro, and Ebron's 40 time should be among the best for tight ends at the combine in recent years.

The best bench-press performance by a tight end came from Joe Don Duncan, of Division II Dixie State in Utah. Duncan (6-3, 268, 32 3/8) turned in 35 reps, tied for the most among tight ends since at least 2006. Georgia's Orson Charles also had 36, in 2012. Only four tight ends have reached the 30-rep limit since 2006.

Duncan's back story might be even more impressive than his reps total. He missed the 2008 season, his true freshman campaign, at FCS member Sacramento State with a broken leg. He spent two seasons at a junior college, then signed with Dixie State, where he missed the 2012 season with a severe knee injury. He was given a sixth year of eligibility in 2013 and responded with 71 receptions for 1,045 yards and 13 TDs.

His knee surgery in 2012 required the implant of a bone and cartilage from a cadaver; he then spent two months in a wheelchair while the implant took hold. Duncan also is known for his pregame ritual, which is listening to Elton John songs.

Other notable bench-press numbers among tight ends: Iowa's C.J. Fiedorowicz (6-5, 265, 33) with 25, Oregon's Colt Lyerla (6-4, 242, 32 3/4) with 15, Georgia's Arthur Lynch (6-5, 258, 32 1/2) with 28 and Notre Dame's Troy Niklas (6-6, 270, 34 1/8) with 27.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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