Mike Gesicki is one of the most interesting players on the 2020 Miami Dolphins roster, the 6ft 5 1⁄2, 247lb tight end has all the measurables to be a dominant pass catcher in the league.
The 2018 second-round pick had a big reputation when coming into the league, as one of the most notable players of the draft class. Things didn’t quite work out as many would’ve liked in his rookie year, but then who blames him when he came into the league as a TE in an Adam Gase offense.
He was barely targeted in a particularly dire unit. Overall in the 2018 season, Mike Gesicki racked up 22 receptions for 202 yards and no touchdowns. Those numbers aren’t pretty when compared to some of the other 2018 rookie tight ends.
Hayden Hurst, then of the Ravens, was the only tight end to be drafted ahead of him but actually was targeted less than the former Penn State Nittany Lion. He totaled 13 receptions for 163 yards. Hurst was outshone by fellow rookie tight end Mark Andrews who lead the class in receiving yards. Dallas Goedert and Chris Herndon also had stronger seasons than him.
Moving into 2019, the Dolphins implemented a new offensive scheme, as Chad O’Shea became the offensive coordiantor under Brian Flores’ staff. One that utilised the tight end position much more than in 2018, good news for Mike Gesicki.
He was targeted a lot more than the last year, making the jump from 31 to 80 balls thrown towards him. According to Pro Football Focus, Gesicki caught 51 of those for 570 yards and 5 touchdowns, providing a red zone threat for the offense.
There were some memorable games along the way, including a perfect six targets for six receptions and 95 yards against the Jets in Week 9. That game went on to be the team’s first of five wins in 2019. Mike grabbed his highest PFF total offense grade all season, coming in at 80.1.
The Week 12 loss to the Cleveland Browns saw Gesicki grab his first NFL touchdown, backing that up a week later in the upset win over Carson Wentz’s Philadelphia Eagles. He racked up 5 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.
In the final two games of the season, he caught 3 touchdowns, one that signaled the beginning of the end for the Brady-Belichick era. Before that, he caught a career-high two TD’s against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Here’s Why Mike Gesicki could have a breakout season in 2020.
Reason 1 – He had a strong end to 2019.
I know we’ve just touched on it, but it’s a real positive. From the moment that Ryan Fitzpatrick came in for his second stint as a starter, Gesicki’s role in the offense grew and grew. In fact, down the back 9 weeks of the 2019 season, Mike Gesicki played a big part in pretty much all the games.
He really emerged as a favourite target for Ryan Fitzpatrick, and hopefully Tua Tagovailoa, down the line, really taking over the slot, just like most of the elite pass-catching Tight End’s. Of Gesicki’s 705 snaps, 461 of them were from the slot. That means he lined up in the slot 65% of the time.
Last year Mike Gesicki ranked fourth among all TE’s in yards gained from the slot. Behind only Mark Andrews, Jared Cook, and Travis Kelce. To top that all off, in the final 7 games of 2019 he lined up in 76% of the team’s snaps, averaging 7.4 targets per game.
Reason 2 – Mike Gesicki is a scheme fit in Chan Gailey’s offense.
New Miami Dolphins Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey is known for a spread offense, often without a traditional tight end, instead deciding to line them up out wide or in the slot. That’s perfect for the Miami TE, it’s a similar role to what he played in 2019.
History tells us that athletic Tight End’s excel in Gailey’s offense, and they’re predominantly lined up in the slot. In fact, this exact offense is what helped Tony Gonzalez towards a fifth First-Team All-Pro, and tenth Pro Bowl nomination in 2008.
That very season saw Tony catch 96 passes for 1058 yards and ten touchdowns. If Gesicki could get anywhere near that I’d definitely call that a breakout year. Of those 96 receptions, 74 of them were in the slot for 839 yards and 2 TD’s. That’s a significant amount of his production.
Those two reasons make me confident in my ability to predict that Mike Gesicki will have a breakout year in 2020.