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Jace Amaro: Rookie Tight Ends Rarely Make an Impact

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Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

One thing that might be important to keep in mind when we hear about Jace Amaro having growing pains in camp is how difficult it is for tight ends to transition into the NFL. It is not a big impact position for first year players.

Consider this. There are five players currently signed to NFL rosters who have made at least one AP First or Second All Pro Team. Here is their respective rookie production.

Name Receptions Yards TD
Jason Witten 35 347 1
Antonio Gates 24 389 2
Vernon Davis 20 265 3
Rob Gronkowski 42 546 10
Jimmy Graham 31 356 5

There isn't a ton of big impact here aside from Gronkowski, and even he was primarily a red zone weapon.

It isn't easy learning how to play tight end in this league. It's like learning the wide receiver position, which is a slow transition spot itself, and even more on top of that. A rookie tight end has to learn technique when he lines up inline, in the slot, outside, and in the backfield. They have to learn how to block against bigger, faster, and stronger opponents. A guy like Amaro who ran limited routes from a basic playbook in college needs to refine his route running and learn a more complex system. It's a lot. It might not take just one training camp for him to make an impact.

As far as the Jets go this year, Amaro's progress does matter because it feels like an awful lot of success in the passing game's success is predicated on him being an abnormally quick learner. There aren't many people with the natural ability to step up and take pressure off Eric Decker as a quality second option. As far as Amaro's long-term potential, though, it is not surprising to hear he is off to a slow start or even that his head is spinning a bit nor is it necessarily a sign there should be great concern for him.