INDIANAPOLIS -- As the New England Patriots seek to replace Aaron Hernandez as their slot tight end this offseason, draft prospect Jace Amaro's name keeps coming up as a possible answer.
Most recently, by Amaro himself.
Earlier this week, NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock said Amaro is a Hernandez-type tight end, and that the Patriots will likely seek a tight end more in the style of Amaro to pair with star tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is recovering from a knee injury this offseason.
New England holds the No. 29 overall pick, which is squarely within the range of where Amaro is projected to be chosen. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah rates Amaro the No. 25 talent in the draft, while fellow analyst Bucky Brooks has Amaro on the bubble just outside his top 25.
On Thursday, Amaro revealed the Patriots interviewed him Wednesday night, and characterized the conversation an awful lot like Mayock's assessment.
"It was good. They broke my tape down, and it looked like they liked me a lot. They said I fit their system very well, so I guess we'll see how it goes," Amaro said. "It's a hard organization to ignore, what they've had with the success at the tight end position. It's something that I'd like to bring along, to be in a system like that, whatever team it is."
Patriots coach Bill Belichick held an impromptu news conference Thursday, but wasn't commenting specifically on Amaro or any other other prospect. Amaro's exploits as a receiver are so prolific, he's been described by some analysts as more of a receiver than a tight end. He caught 106 passes for Texas Tech last year for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns. He insists he's capable of blocking effectively, but it's downfield where he'll make his pro living.
"I think it's a great time for tight ends," he said. "There's a revolution at the position. I feel like I had one of the greatest tight end seasons ever in college regarding receiving yards."
Amaro said he measured plenty big enough for a blocking tight end at the combine weigh-in, at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds.
Big enough as well, presumably, for New England.