Jace Amaro attended three of the San Antonio Spurs’ four home games during their recent playoff series with the Dallas Mavericks, and he’s not going to abandon his hometown NBA team this week.
When the NFL draft begins Thursday night, the former Texas Tech tight end plans to be back at the AT&T Center for Game 2 of the Spurs’ Western Conference semifinal series against Portland.
As of Monday, he was planning to be holed up in an arena suite in San Antonio, surrounded by family.
“I think that’d be kind of neat, watching the game and watching the draft at the same time,” Amaro said.
Amaro says he’s never watched NFL draft coverage before, but he could be a central figure this year. As one of the top prospects at his position, the 6-foot-5, 266-pound Amaro is projected as a second-round pick in most mock drafts, and in the first round by some.
Amaro and his agent. Erik Burkhardt, said Amaro declined an invitation to be part of this year’s event at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
“I think it’s a cool experience, and I think it’s neat and stuff,” Amaro said. “But I’ve never really been big on the draft. I would rather just be with the people I’ve come up with.
“I think it will be good for me just to be here instead of New York.”
Right after his record-setting 106-catch, 1,352-yard season in 2013, Amaro announced he was leaving Tech a year early.
Burkhardt said events since then have reinforced the expectation his client’s going be a high pick.
“I will say there’s been very serious interest from multiple teams, including seven to eight team visits and three private workouts,” Burkhardt said, “and that is on top of, I think, a couple of general managers and four or five tight ends coaches that came to his pro day, which is pretty good.
“(That’s) aside from 20-something meetings he had at the combine as well. There’s been lots of traffic on him, so I feel good about where we’re at right now.”
Burkhardt and Amaro declined to identify the teams with whom Amaro has had visits and private workouts, not wanting to break confidentiality agreements.
Amaro announced he would give up his senior season at Tech in the postgame interview session at the Holiday Bowl. Two weeks passed between that night and the NFL early entry deadline, during which time Amaro had second thoughts.
“I made my decision, but just after the bowl game it was hard for me to just let it all go right then and there,” he said. “There were days after the bowl announcement I said I wanted to come back, and it was true. It really took me to the last day where I decided the best thing was for me to leave.”
Burkhardt doesn’t want to specify a range in which he expects Amaro to come off the board, but he believes in the former Tech All-American’s talent.
“I’ve had multiple first-round picks in the past,” Burkhardt said, “and I feel very confident that Jace is one of the best 25 players in this draft. I think he’s proven that on the field. I think he’s the most complete tight end in this draft as far as height, weight, speed, production, can do it all.
“Some people have said he can’t block. I think he disproved that when he was in (Tommy) Tuberville’s system. If you go back and watch some of those tapes, he certainly blocked his tail off.”
The first round of the draft is Thursday, followed by rounds two and three on Friday and rounds four through seven Saturday.
If someone from the NFL calls Amaro with good news on Thursday night, the two parties might have to speak up to hear one another over a crowd cheering Tony Parker and Tim Duncan.
That Amaro would spend draft night watching playoff basketball on site attests to one of his childhood dreams — to be an NBA player.
Either way, he wanted to be a pro athlete.
“Of course, playing on the next level, whether in football or basketball, that’s something I always dreamed of,” he said. “I was going to make sure I made it happen.”
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