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Scouting Profile: Tight End Mike Gesicki

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Apr 20, 2018

Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki showed off at the NFL Combine, boosting his stock to the first-round conversation

Mike Gesicki, Penn State

Height: 6’5″
Weight: 247 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.54 seconds
Vertical: 41.5 inches
Broad Jump: 10’9″

If you’re looking for a physical specimen, look no further than Gesicki. He dominated the Combine, even more than his teammate Saquon Barkley, as Gesicki topped all tight ends in arm length, 40-time, vertical, broad jump, and 3-cone drills. He’s clearly an athlete, but one who may have been underused in a Barkley-heavy Penn State offense.

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Gesicki caught just 105 passes over the last two years, compiling 1,242 yards and 14 touchdowns on them. His 9.9 yards per reception seems like it’s much lower than it should be for someone with his length. There was just one game in 2017 where he totaled more than six receptions and he never topped 89 yards, though there were four different games where he caught multiple touchdown passes.

Size/Versatility: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Great size, though his smaller bottom-half could hurt him against powerful pass rushers. Not built “thick” in the bottom-half of his body. He was often lineup up as an in-line tight end, but he can absolutely play out of the slot or on the perimeter, as he has more speed than most who play the wide receiver position. His 34 1/8-inch arms combined with his 10 1/4-inch hands and 41.5-inch vertical make for one of the biggest targets in all of football. If there’s a team who knows how to utilize someone’s strengths, someone is going to utilize Gesicki in the red zone and mismatch him with defensive backs.

Route Running/Ability to Separate: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Believe this is another solid area of his game, though his quarterback didn’t help make things easy for him. There’d be times I’d see Gesicki get open 15 yards down the field, only for his quarterback to overthrow him by five yards, which is hard to do given his size. He doesn’t give away his routes while running them, using head fakes and juke steps prior to a break to sell the defender. They’re subtle movements, too, so it’s not as if they’re easy to judge as a defender. He’s not afraid to go down the seam, either. He seemed to run a diverse route-tree, even if he wasn’t targeted a whole lot. He also puts himself in a good position to box-out the defender in jump ball situations, and times his jumps very well. He does struggle to beat press off the line at times, but it could have to do with the defenses ability to predict play-calling, because if he gets off the press, linebackers won’t catch him.

Speed: 5.0 out of 5 stars
His speed shows up all over the field. He bursts off the line of scrimmage and continues to build as he goes down the field. His 40-time at the Combine confirmed he plays at a different speed than most tight ends. His speed also allowed Penn State to use him in a variety of ways, including the screen game where he would be targeted very shallow with the hope that he created something after the catch. Traditional tight ends are not used in this way. There is nothing about Gesicki’s speed that would limit an NFL offense.

Hands/High-Pointing: 4.0 out of 5 stars
You have to wonder if there was concern over his hands while at Penn State? They used him in the screen game a lot more than normal, which is odd considering how big of a target he could be downfield. It also explains his 9.9 yards per reception in 2017. I don’t want to use the offense as a reason to downgrade him in this category, because he’ll win 50/50 balls a majority of the time, as he times his jumps, extends his arms, and keeps his hands together. From the tape available, his hands seem to be very solid, as he shows the ability to high-point the ball better than most while keeping his feet in bounds when along the sideline.

After the Catch: 2.0 out of 5 stars
He doesn’t play very physical and relies more on finesse than he does strength. This hurts him after the catch, as tight ends aren’t usually taking the top off the defense and are relied on to break tackles in order to break the big plays. Gesicki’s speed allows him to do some things after the catch, but he’s not going to be someone with an extremely high YAC (yards after catch). He’s likely going to be more of a go-up-and-get-it tight end than the monster that Rob Gronkowski is after the catch.

Blocking: 2.0 out of 5 stars
As mentioned in some other categories, Gesicki doesn’t play with a whole lot of physicality. While this usually kills a player in blocking, he uses his angles really well to make up for some of that. He wouldn’t have been on the field very much if he couldn’t clear some paths for Saquon Barkley in the run- and screen-game. He can be shoved back by linebackers if you choose to use him in-line, which may keep him off the field more than some would like to start his career, though it’s hard to say that he’ll get much better without adding more bulk. By doing that, it may take away some of the things he does extremely well. You aren’t drafting Gesicki to be a top-notch blocker, but he is capable enough for a player of his size.

Potential Landing Spot
There are a few teams who could be looking at Gesicki, though if someone is looking for a full-time tight end, he may not be the answer at this time. Because of that, the Saints may be a team to watch for at the end of the first-round. While they did sign Ben Watson, they’d use Gesicki more as a wide receiver than anything. Another team to keep in mind is the Patriots, who have four picks in the top two rounds. There have been plenty of rumors about Rob Gronkowski potentially retiring or being traded at some point, so they could start to look for a tight end to groom. Gesicki may not be a good enough blocker, but maybe they see enough potential to work with him.

NFL Comparison
Knowing how mediocre Jimmy Graham was as a blocker, he’s the ideal comparison for Gesicki. Both are former basketball players who have unique frames and know how to use them. Graham was one of the fastest tight ends for a long time, though age and injuries have started to creep up on him. It’s also the reason why I’d love to see Gesicki go to the Saints, as he’d provide that big presence over the middle of the field and Sean Payton would know how to move him around to create one-on-one situations with undersized cornerbacks. If anything, Gesicki is a bit more seasoned than Graham was when he came into the league, so don’t be shocked to see Gesicki makes an impact early in his career.

Don’t miss the other Scouting Profiles on top prospects below:
Saquon Barkley (RB – Penn State)
Derrius Guice (RB – LSU)
Ronald Jones (RB – USC)
Sony Michel (RB – Georgia)
Nick Chubb (RB – Georgia)
Royce Freeman (RB – Oregon)
Rashaad Penny (RB – San Diego State)
Kerryon Johnson (RB – Auburn)
John Kelly (RB – Tennessee)
Kalen Ballage (RB – Arizona State)
Calvin Ridley (WR – Alabama)
James Washington (WR – Oklahoma State)
Courtland Sutton (WR – Southern Methodist)
Michael Gallup (WR – Colorado State)
D.J. Moore (WR – Maryland)
Christian Kirk (WR – Texas A&M)
Anthony Miller (WR – Memphis)
Equanimeous St. Brown (WR – Notre Dame)
Daesean Hamilton (WR – Penn State)
Dante Pettis (WR – Washington)
Keke Coutee (WR – Texas Tech)
Auden Tate (WR – Florida State)
Baker Mayfield (QB – Oklahoma)
Josh Rosen (QB – UCLA)
Josh Allen (QB – Wyoming)
Lamar Jackson (QB – Louisville)
Mason Rudolph (QB – Oklahoma State)
Dallas Goedert (TE – South Dakota)

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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.


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