Bears

Hoge’s Bears Big Board: No. 8 TE Jace Amaro

Jace Amaro. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

Jace Amaro. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

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By Adam Hoge-

(CBS) — A look at the top 20 NFL Draft prospects that could be on the Bears’ radar, based on projected availability, position of need and player skill:

View: Hoge’s Bears Big Board

TE Jace Amaro, Texas Tech

Age: 21
Height: 6-5
Weight: 265
Hand: 9
Arm: 34

College Career: The junior decided to forgo his senior year after putting up ridiculous numbers in 2013 (106 catches for 1352 yards and seven touchdowns) as the Red Raiders used him in a Jimmy Graham type role, lining him up all over the field. His first two years at Texas Tech were underwhelming, as he was arrested for credit card fraud in 2012 (charges later dropped) and also suffered a scary injury his sophomore year that caused internal bleeding.

Strengths: Former basketball player with a big frame. Faster than he looks. Can create mismatches running the deep-middle. Good blocker who is not afraid to get dirty. Versatile enough to line up all over the field. Fits the modern mold for tight ends in the passing era.

Weaknesses: Small hands. Does not possess top-end speed and coordination. Could struggle to separate from linebackers at the next level. Blocking technique could use some work. Some teams will like his nastiness, but he needs to control his emotions as his ejection in the 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl (throwing a punch) nearly cost his team the game.

Bears Outlook: Watching Amaro in 2013 was a lot like watching Jimmy Graham in the Saints’ offense, but Amaro doesn’t possess that level of speed and athleticism. Texas Tech’s Air Raid offense also inflated the production a little bit. That said, Amaro has a chance to be a very productive player at the next level and he has upside as a blocker. The Bears need a No. 2 tight end, but do they need one bad enough to use a second round pick on one? That’s where they’d likely have to take Amaro and there’s no guarantee he’ll still be around at No. 51.

Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.