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Dolphins 2021 roster breakdown: Tight ends

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Part three of our review of the Miami Dolphins arrives tonight with the tight ends taking the spotlight. Thus far, we have looked at the quarterbacks and the running backs. Now, the group headlined by a player on the verge of being among the game’s elite at the position come into focus.

The basic idea behind this series is to take a closer look at each position group on Miami’s roster and predict who will make the 53-man roster when September arrives. The quarterbacks group was a pretty simple discussion. The running backs needed a little more analysis. Now, the tight ends could simply come down to a numbers game. How many players at tight end can Miami afford to keep on the roster?

Roster

Jibri Blount (24, Rookie)
Cethan Carter (25, 5th year)
Mike Gesicki (25, 4th year)
Hunter Long (22, Rookie)
Chris Myarick (25, 1st year)
Adam Shaheen (26, 5th year)
Durham Smythe (25, 4th year)

Analysis

Despite Smythe being listed as the starting tight end on the depth chart last year, Gesicki is the top of this group. He finished last year with 53 receptions for 703 yards, a 13.3 yards per reception average, with six touchdowns - all career highs. He gets mentioned as a top tight end in the league when analysts talk about the Dolphins, but he has not yet kicked open the door to being considered among the elite when the entire league is discussed. That could change this year.

Behind Gesicki is where the discussion starts. Can Miami find a way to keep four tight ends - especially knowing they have a ton of talent worth keeping at wide receiver as well. Assuming Long makes the roster based on draft stock (third-round pick), that leaves Smythe and Shaheen battling for maybe only one roster spot. Smythe, considered more of a “blocking” tight end than a “receiving” threat, had 26 receptions for 208 yards with two scores last year. The Dolphins traded for Shaheen at the start of the 2020 training camp, acquiring him from the Chicago Bears; he tallied 12 receptions for 150 yards with three touchdowns last year with Miami.

Carter could play into the roster discussion as well, given he signed a three-year contract this offseason with the team. Last year with the Cincinnati Bengals, Carter caught five passes for 53 yards.

Myarick has been around the team for two years, spending all of his rookie season on the practice squad in 2019, then again spending the year on the practice squad in 2020 - though he was elevated to the gameday roster four times during the season but did not make an appearance.

Blount is an interesting developmental player. After spending his college career playing basketball, he moved to football as an undrafted free agent signing. As the son of Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount and the brother of linebacker Akil, who signed as an undrafted free agent by the Dolphins back in 2016, Jibri has the talent to at least interest Miami’s coaching staff. He is likely headed to the practice squad to continue to transition from basketball to football.

The Dolphins likely will want to keep four tight ends, given the familiarity they have with Gesicki, Smythe, and Shaheen already as well as the use of a third-round pick on Long. Blount heads to the practice squad, as does Myarick though they could also release him. Carter ends up the odd-man out, costing Miami $1.2 million in dead money but creating $1.5 million in cap space.

Depth Chart Projection

53-man roster:
Mike Gesicki - starter
Duham Smythe
Hunter Long
Adam Shaheen

Practice squad:
Jibri Blount
Chris Myarick

Likely cut:
Cethan Carter