Aug. 22 (UPI) — Rookie tight end Mike Gesicki had an impressive day at Miami Dolphins practice Wednesday, reeling in an acrobatic touchdown and earning a lofty comparison.
The 6-foot-6, 245-pound pass catcher was a second round pick by the Dolphins in the 2018 NFL Draft. He’s easy to spot on the field, despite being surrounded by other burly football stars, due to his tall frame and ability to out jump defenders.
Gesicki spent an entire portion of Wednesday’s practice working one-on-one with Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, while offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains watched nearby. But the highlight of the rookie’s day came during 11-on-11 drills. Tannehill lofted a deep throw to the left corner of the end zone, Gesicki adjusted his body and stretched to stab the football. He juggled it into his hands before completing the catch against his helmet for a touchdown, all while a practice squad defensive back attempted to pry the ball away.
“That was just a play, just a normal one. I just ran a takeoff and Ryan gave me a chance, put the ball up, and it’s just my job to go up and make a play and that’s what I was able to do,” Gesicki said.
Gesicki has yet to make a catch in the preseason for the Dolphins. He had 57 grabs for 563 yards and nine scores in his final season at Penn State.
“Any time that we can give him opportunities just in practice, for those guys to hook up when it’s legit competition, that’s only going to make us better,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “We can throw as many routes on air as possible and the timing looks good, but when you get in that competitive periods, that’s where you want to see it.”
Gesicki’s teammate Kenny Stills has seen tight ends with special ability, particularly around the red zone. The Dolphins wide receiver was teammates with Jimmy Graham for two seasons when he was with the New Orleans Saints. Graham made the Pro Bowl in both of those seasons and was an All-Pro during their final season as teammates. Graham secured 26 touchdowns and 2,104 yards on 171 receptions during that stretch.
“I talked to Mike a lot about my time in New Orleans playing with a guy like Jimmy Graham, and just seeing when Jimmy had success, how it opened up the field for the rest of the guys,” Stills said. “Obviously, they’re two different type of players, two different guys, but Gesicki can go up and get the ball.”
Stills said he believes Gesicki has Jimmy Graham-type potential in the way that he goes up and gets the football.
“He’s impressed me a lot here over training camp and these last couple of days,” Stills said. “You don’t want to predict anything like that, but the guy can go up and make plays in the red zone. We’ll have to see what he does during the season.”
The Dolphins haven’t had a tight end with at least 600 yards and seven touchdowns in the same season since Keith Jackson in 1994.