NFL Draft: Southern Regional Alum Mike Gesicki Selected by the Miami Dolphins
Mike Gesicki is taking his talents to South Beach.
The Miami Dolphins used the 10th pick of the second round in the NFL Draft, No. 42 overall, to select the former Southern Regional three-sport superstar out of Penn State. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end is the second player from the Shore Conference to be selected in the 2018 NFL Draft, joining former Red Bank Catholic and Notre Dame offensive lineman Quenton Nelson, who went No. 6 overall to the Indianapolis Colts.
An all-state football, basketball and volleyball player at Southern, Gesicki signed with Penn State and was able to get on the field immediately. He played in all 13 games with one start as a freshman, then played in all 13 games with eight starts as a sophomore. He had a breakout season as a junior with 48 catches for 679 yards and five touchdowns, leading all Big Ten tight ends in catches, yards and touchdowns. He was a Second-Team All-Big Ten selection.
He concluded his record-setting college career with a school single-season tight end record 57 receptions for 563 yards and nine touchdowns. Gesicki was a Second-Team All-American by SB Nation and Sporting News, First-Team All-Big Ten selection by Pro Football Focus and was a finalist for the Mackey Award (nation’s top tight end). He finished his career with a least one catch in 27 straight games and ranks ninth all-time in Penn State history with a tight end-record 129 catches. His 1,481 receiving yards are 17th in school history and his 15 receiving touchdowns are No. 9 all-time in school history.
The knock on Gesicki is that he is not an NFL-caliber blocking tight end, but the Dolphins didn't pick him to help their run game.
“[Green Bay tight end] Jimmy Graham was not a good blocker coming out,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier told reporters. “These tall guys … name a good tight end with those types of build that are good blockers at the line of scrimmage?"
“Most of the time it is leverage and stuff and taller guys at the point of attack have a hard time getting down. This guy can bend and do it, and it’s developing that strength and stuff, but a lot of these guys have a hard time and in the college game, a lot of these guys are flexed out in space.”
With his combination of size, athleticism and leaping ability, Gesicki is a matchup nightmare and a major red zone weapon. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock noted Gesicki's strength during the telecast, referencing his "freaky combine".
"If you are a safety or linebacker in space with him, that's tough duty," Mayock said.
The Dolphins agreed.
“You see the plays, the height, the vertical jump,” Grier said. “You see that, him going up and high-pointing the ball. For us, finding that skill set like that was very important. I think in this league, it’s a matchup league, and with what tight ends can do, he’s got a unique skill set that not many guys in this league have.”
Gesicki did not attend the draft and has so far stayed off social media since being selected. However, one of his former coaches, current Southern Regional athletic director Chuck Donohue Jr., was with Gesicki when he got the news.
Gesicki is the second New Jersey native to be drafted by the Dolphins this weekend. Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, who is from Old Bridge and attended St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, was selected with the No. 11 pick in the first round.
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.