With the 42nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki. The team added the seam-threat, red-zone-target, pass-catching tight end they had been missing for years. They had a player who would open up the offense, bringing a threat to the middle of the field as the speed-threat receivers went over the top.
Except, it did not happen in 2018. Gesicki struggled as a rookie at a position that often sees rookies struggle. He caught 22 passes for 202 yards.
That is not enough for what the Dolphins need from the tight end position. It is not enough for what Gesicki wants to do in the NFL.
Now, entering his second training camp with a new coaching staff, Gesicki should be coming into his own. His rookie season will have given him a chance to adjust to the speed of the game. The new coaching staff - with the head coach and offensive coordinator coming from the New England Patriots - have experience with how to use tight ends and how Pro Bowl tight ends can make a difference in an offense. They know what they want to see from a tight end, and now they have a second-year tight end to mold into that ideal.
The Dolphins added Dwayne Allen to the roster this year, giving the caching staff a familiar tight end, and one who can help Gesicki find his role. Allen should also provide a more traditional, in-line tight end to fee up Gesicki to be a hybrid tight-end/wide receiver style player. Add in Durham Smythe, who was drafted in the fourth round last year, and the Dolphins have a blocking tight end to add to the pass-catcher and the all-around players at the position.
Gesicki needs to continue his personal development. He needs to come into camp this year working on his route running. He has to show that he is ready to take a (big) step forward this season. The coaching staff is going to work hard on getting him to be what they want and need, and Gesicki will have to take those lessons and turn them into performances on the field.
Training camp will be huge this year for Gesicki.