The Miami Dolphins have an opportunity to finally grab a tight end who can serve as a main cog to the offense. The 2018 tight end draft class is stacked with talent, and the Dolphins should take advantage of it, since they’re yet to do since Charles Clay left.
Will the Dolphins finally use an early round pick on a tight end?
It will be interesting to see what tight ends could make a final push for first-round status, with so many teams in need of quarterbacks and defenders. Despite the tight end depth, the position is a bit of a secondary priority for many teams.
While the combine isn’t the only deciding factor in a prospect’s stock, it does greatly effect it. Let’s see who won and lost the day.
Mike Gesicki, Penn State
Gesicki turned in a dominating performance at the combine. After benching 22 reps, he ran a terrific 40-time of 4.54 and a 20-yard shuttle of 4.1. Additionally, Gesicki added an impressive 41.5 vertical jump. During the on-field drills, he looked smooth, showing off his hands and athleticism all morning.
While blocking remains a work-in-progress with Gesicki, he answered any questions about his ability as a pass catcher and offensive threat.
While it’s unlikely he’s drafted in the first round based off the quantity of tight ends and lack of priority for most teams, Gesicki solidified himself as an early second-round pick.
Hayden Hurst, South Carolina/Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
Hurst and Andrews both had very solid and similar workouts for the day. Both ran a 4.67 40-time, and both jumped about the same height of 31 inches (Hurst jumped about a half inch higher). Hurst added a 4.37 20-yard shuttle, while Andrews ran a 4.38. The rest of their workouts weren’t as similar, but still in the same ballpark, with Hurst showing a bit more athleticism.
Both have a chance to be top-10 tight ends in the NFL moving forward if they can reach their potential and polish their blocking techniques.
Worth noting about Andrews:
Whoever said that, should immediately seek a profession elsewhere. Andrews could go in the second, and certainly won’t last past the third. Not to mention, he’s actually one of the better blocking tight ends in the draft.
Jaylen Samuels, NC State
Speaking of Charles Clay, Samuels would be his prototypical replacement for the Dolphins. Samuels is an undersized, fantastic athlete that could cause matchup nightmares for defenses. At 5-foot-11, 225 pounds Samuels is like a fullback playing tight end. He showed off his versatility at the combine by posting a 4.54 40-time, 34.5 vertical and 6.93 3-cone drill. Samuels can be used as a Swiss Army knife for any team who drafts him, and the Dolphins could use Samuels in the same role that Clay was so effective in.
Since Samuels isn't a stereotypical tight end with his lack fo height and weight, he may fall to the fourth or fifth round — a perfect spot for Miami to take a flier on him.
Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan
Conklin’s measurements and bench press were fine, but his 40-time indicates he’s a bit slower than may thought. He was never going to outrun defenses, but a 4.8 40-yard dash is disappointing for Conklin. The strange part is, Conklin outperformed other tight ends in drills. He ran a faster 3-cone, 20-yard and 60-yard shuttle than Andrews, and also jumped higher and farther. He showed his athleticism, but the lack of breakaway speed begs the question of if he’s only a short yardage option in the NFL.
Ryan Izzo, Florida State
Speaking of poor 40-times, Izzo would like to forget his performance. Like Conklin, we knew Izzo wasn’t a speedster, and questioned if he is more of a blocking tight end. But watching him run a 4.94 seemed slower than watching paint dry. Additionally, Izzo failed to impress on bench press for possessing such a huge frame. Someone who is 6-foot-5 and 256 pounds, should never bench the same amount of reps as someone who is 5-foot-11, 225 pounds. Yet, the gigantic Izzo managed to bench the same amount of reps (18) as the undersized Samuels. Izzo lost himself some money today, and may not be drafted until the fifth or sixth round.
Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin
Fumagalli enters the draft with a tough-as-nails reputation. But a poor bench press (14) and inability to participate in drills hurt his chance to shine. On tape, he looks the part, but he relies more on strength than speed, and 14 bench reps raises head-scratching questions for the 6-foot-5 bruiser.
He took a serious backseat to Goedart, Gesicki, Hurst and Andrews following the combine weekend. However, he could be a steal for a team in the fourth round.