2018 Raiders Draft Prospect
Name: Mike Gesicki
School: Penn State
Weight: 252 pounds
If many consider a tight end a Day 2 prospect, he will not hear his name called due to his blocking. While Gesicki is a willing blocker, he does not shine in that aspect. He can get a decent chip on a defensive end, but prolonged contact is a waste of his abilities. When called on to block, Gesicki will hold up his end.
Immediately, you notice that Gesicki played other sports. A former basketball and volleyball player, he brings that vertical explosion to the field. As a result, 50/50 balls become 75/25. Gesicki rises above the most athletic players to catch the ball. As the video will show, he high points the ball with ease.
Penn State uses Gesicki’s quickness in a variety of ways. He caught shovel passes for touchdowns. In addition, he lines up in the slot, the backfield and on the outside. Gesicki will sprint in motion to snare passes from a flare or out route. Despite his long frame, Gesicki shows the ability to go to the ground and grab low throws.
In the era of the new tight ends, they must be able to consistently catch passes. Gone are the days of the lumbering starting tight end. Jeron Mastrud is not walking through the door. Gesicki’s catch radius seems endless, due to his reach and athleticism. When the ball touches his hands, he secures it. For any receiver the toughest catch are those in traffic. However, Gesicki makes those with ease.
Gesicki runs like a big wideout. Granted, he does not own Evan Engram speed, he can run away from defenders. With long strides and footwork, Gesicki creates daylight that way, instead of a straight burst.
Despite Jared Cook’s strong 2017, the Raiders could look at Gesicki as a plug and play tight end. Chances are good that Gruden will emphasize more than one tight end. In addition, Gesicki gives the Raiders another playmaker. Clive Walford has not succeeded as hoped, and Lee Smith is a free agent. Also, imagine the number of jump balls Carr could throw in the red zone. In reality, Gesicki should not lose too many of those.