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Texas Tech's Jace Amaro out to show he's a complete tight end

Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro had 106 receptions in 2013 and set an NCAA record for receiving yards by a tight end with 1,352. But he didn't win the Mackey Award, which annually goes to the nation's top tight end. Heck, he wasn't even a finalist.

What gives?

Amaro was not a traditional tight end with the Red Raiders. He recently told the Dallas Morning News he lined up in the slot or out wide on about 80 percent of Texas Tech's offensive plays, and that he lined up as a traditional tight end on about 10 plays per game.

"I'm kind of unique," Amaro said. "I can play receiver and tight end. I know I didn't play as much tight end at Texas Tech, but I know I can."

Amaro is one of the top three tight ends available in the draft -- the other two, North Carolina's Eric Ebron and Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins, are more traditional tight ends.

All three left school after their junior seasons. All possess above-average athleticism for the position. All can get deep. But Amaro's blocking ability is a sticking point for some teams. Amaro says those teams are misguided.

"If anyone has any questions about my blocking, they just need to watch my sophomore film," Amaro said. "I know I can block when I need to. I know I can drive people to the ground. That's one of my biggest positives. That's one thing I do better than a lot of guys."

Amaro played his first two seasons at Texas Tech under Tommy Tuberville, who prefers a run-first attack. But Tuberville left after the 2012 season, and new coach Kliff Kingsbury -- a Mike Leach disciple -- returned Tech to a version of Leach's "Air Raid" attack.

Amaro certainly has the needed size: Tech listed him at 6-foot-5 and 257 pounds. Besides, the "traditional" tight end isn't exactly what every team is seeking. More and more teams want their tight end to be a big weapon in the passing game.

Ebron looks to be the most athletic of the top three tight ends. Seferian-Jenkins has the best size/speed ratio. Amaro seems to be the best receiver of the trio. Their combine performances could determine the order in which they are drafted.

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

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