Barry Jackson

Analysts give mixed reviews on Dolphins' pick Mike Gesicki

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 29:  Mike Gesicki #88 of the Penn State Nittany Lions carries the ball against the Michigan State Spartans at Beaver Stadium on November 29, 2014 in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 29: Mike Gesicki #88 of the Penn State Nittany Lions carries the ball against the Michigan State Spartans at Beaver Stadium on November 29, 2014 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Some reaction to the Dolphins’ selection of Penn State tight end Mike Gesick with the 42nd pick in Friday's NFL draft:

ESPN’s Todd McShay: “Being real honest here, you watch a breakdown of his blocking, it’s tough to watch. He’s not a blocker. You basically just drafted a slot receiver. He’s basically a one trick pony, but his trick is pretty good. When the ball is in the air, he finds a way to get late separation. He comes down with a lot of those 50/50 balls.”

ESPN’s Mel Kiper: “Body control on the sidelines is outstanding. He’s a kid who tested off the charts. That wowed everybody over. But if you want a kid who will be an extension of your offensive line as a blocker, forget about it, he’s not. He’s a pass catching option for a quarterback; stay healthy Ryan Tannehill.”

ESPN’s Louis Riddick: “What they need is impact players on offense. They couldn’t care less about his blocking. It’s the last thing on his mind, but you’re right: It’s tough to watch. The guy is a high riser middle of the field. What’s the best way to help a young quarterback? Throw in the middle of the field to somebody who can go up and get it.”

NFL Net’s Mike Mayock: “Freaky combine, running 4.54 [in the 40]. Matchup nightmare in space. He’s not a point of attack tight end in the running game. I contend because of the stride length, he doesn’t really run a 4.54 on the football field. He’s a 4.65 to 4.7 guy. If you are a safety or linebacker in space with him, that’s tough duty.”

Fox’s Joel Klatt: “Red zone is where I thought he was so problemsome for defenses. This is a guy that not only can jump out of the gym but has power at the top of that vertical. Volleyball is a sport that you develop the power when your feet are off the ground. That’s why he’s so good in that situation in 50/50 balls. When he goes up in the end zone, he almost always comes down with that football. His ability to understand the nuance of route running is what allows him to create space and get wins in the secondary.”

NFL Network’s Charles Davis: “[Tannehill] is going to love him even outside of the red zone [and inside]. Tight ends are often quarterbacks' best friends. This is a screaming need for Miami. This basketball player, 1800 points in his high school career, plays above the rim on the football field. If Miami lined up before this pick, MarQueis Gray would be their starting tight end.”’s Lance Zierlein: "If you are looking for a tight end who can line up and help in the running game, he's not your guy. However, if you want a pass-catcher who can get open and has the ball skills to win against linebackers and safeties, he might be your guy. Gesicki needs to improve his play strength and his issues as a blocker could limit the amount of teams who will target him, but he has a chance to become one of the better pass catching tight ends in the league."

Zierlein listed Gesicki's strengths as these:

· Smooth in his release

· Generates vertical concern for cover linebackers with sneaky build-up speed

· Long, athletic gait and loose hips help him create separation on second and third level routes

· Puts effort and work into route running

· Works the seam without hesitation

· Changes route speeds and works head fakes effectively to mask route intentions

· Able to run more complex patterns

· Ball skills stand out amongst tight end class of 2018

· Confident focused pass catcher

· Prep standout in volleyball and basketball with the leaping and timing to prove it

· Uses length and springs to create rare catch radius

· Makes in-air adjustments to the ball and is in optimal position to pull it in when it gets there

· Hasn't had a legitimate pass drop in two years

Zierlein lists these as his weaknesses:

· Built more like a high-jumper than a tight end

L Long and lanky with a stride length that limits quickness in and out of breaks

· Will struggle to shake coverage on short routes near the line of scrimmage

· Play strength is below average

· Needs to prove he can handle physical jams and route redirection

· Can be slow to get head around and find the ball

· Passive approach as blocker puts run plays in immediate peril

· Hand usage is poor in run game

· Rarely sustains blocks against legitimate edge talent

A few notable numbers from Pro Football Focus: He caught 75 percent of contested catches (9 for 12) last season, best in the nation. But he dropped 14 of 146 catchable balls in his career The drops are a concern; he had eight his first season and three last year

…He had four touchdowns out of the slot last season, third most among the nation’s FBS tight ends… He had 15 career touchdowns, including nine last season… He had two catches of more than 20 yards last season, 13th among tight ends.. .PFF says "he struggles as an in-line blocker but was capable enough when asked to block on the move."

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