The Miami Dolphins used the 2018 NFL Draft to add talented players to positions of need, with a lot of that focused on the tight end position - both stopping opposing tight ends and improving their own production from the position. After using their first-round pick on Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, a player who should help stop opposing tight ends, the Dolphins came back in the second round to add Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki.
Earlier today, we got a closer look at Fitzpatrick, thanks to Roll ‘Bama Roll. This afternoon, we get to take another closer look at a Dolphins draft pick, this time looking at Gesicki with some assistance from Jared Slanina over at SB Nation’s Penn State team site, Black Shoe Diaries.
Mike Gesicki played immediately as a true freshman, catching 11 passes as a reserve. While he was still quite raw, his athleticism and potential were obvious right off the bat. However, things took a turn for the worse once he became the starting tight end as a sophomore. Gesicki developed a case of the yips, and had a difficult time hanging on to the ball. He regularly dropped passes that were placed right in his hands. He also had a pattern of committing careless penalties and missing blocks, and became a liability on the field. It appeared as though Gesicki was one of those cases of someone with spectacular athletic ability, but just couldn’t put it all together as a football player.
Fortunately, all of that would change during his junior year. The summer before his junior year, Gesicki re-dedicated himself. He went dark on social media, avoided interviews, and just focused on fixing the flaws in his game. This resulted in a totally different player on the field, and ended with the most productive season for a tight end in Penn State history. But it wasn’t just his newfound productivity that was so eye-catching, but rather, his complete transformation in the receiving game. All of a sudden, he was catching everything in site. Trace McSorley would often even just throw it deep in his general direction, and Gesicki would find a way to locate the ball and get to it at its highest point in tight coverage. His penchant for drops became a thing of the past. His senior year was more of the same- while his yards per catch decreased (9.9 yards per catch compared with 14.1 as a junior, although this was more of a symptom of McSorley learning not to rely on the deep ball), he had career highs in receptions (57) and touchdowns (9).
Gesicki has the ability to instantly add value to the Dolphins passing game. At 6-6 and 257 lbs., he easily creates mismatches with his rare combination of size and athleticism. He has a ridiculously large catch radius, and really excels at making adjustments with the ball in the air before going up and catching the ball at its high point. He can easily be split out as well in certain formations, and can really do damage if a corner attempts to cover him on his own. Simply put, he’s the type of tight end who will keep defensive coordinators up at night.
The biggest knock against Gesicki is his blocking ability. It’s just something he was never able to do on a consistent basis at Penn State. The Dolphins coaching staff may need to make a decision to only using him in the passing game, as he may not have the ability to be an effective blocker in the NFL. With that said, he does have the ability to become one of the top receiving tight ends in the NFL in a short amount of time, and someone Dolphins fans should be very excited about watching in the fall.