Day five of our annual 90-in-90 series of articles taking a look at the Miami Dolphins. This series focuses daily on one player from the team’s 90-man preseason roster and breaks down his chances to make it to the 53-man regular season roster. It looks at what he did in 2018, his current contract with the Dolphins, reasons he might progress in 2019, reasons he might regress in 2019, and the chances he makes the 53-man regular-season roster.
Thus far, the series has hit on Jonathan Woodard, Shaq Calhoun, Kalen Ballage, and Eric Rowe. It returns to the offensive side of the ball today with a look at a player who should be the starting tight end if he is able to start reaching his potential: Mike Gesicki.
The Dolphins selected Gesicki in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. A star receiving tight end at Penn State, he was expected to become Miami’s redzone and seam threat, but it did not materialize in 2018. He played in all 16 games a rookie, with seven starts, but only caught 22 passes for 202 yards.
Second-year of rookie, 4-year, $6.61 million contract; 2019 salary cap number $1.5 million (via OverTheCap.com).
Why he will progress
Rookie tight ends typically struggle. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but the tight end position is a tough adjustment from the college-level to the professional-level. Gesicki was asked to block a lot last year, and he was known to not be a good blocking tight end when he was selected, so the coaching staff did not do him any favors there - other than having him show some improvement in that kind of role. The 2018 Dolphins also just did not look to the tight end position much. This year, the offense is expected to have more of a tight end role, and the coaching staff knows what a tight end can do in an offense after years of seeing Rob Gronkowski. Gesicki may not be Gronkowski, but he should be better than the rookie performance he had.
Why he might regress
That transition to the NFL is a tough one, and sometimes, star tight ends in college never catch on at the NFL level. If Gesick does not improve his blocking to the point that teams have to at least consider him as a blocker, then he may regress. The coaching staff is expected to use him more in the passing game, spreading him out closer to his college role, but that does not guarantee success.
Chances of making the 53-man roster
Gesicki should easily be on the roster, especially since cutting him gives no salary cap relief and he was a second-round pick last year. He should be the starter, based on the talent he should have, but “should” does not guarantee a role and there are some solid tight ends in the position group that could challenge for playing time.