Before the 2021 draft, NFL scouts had their eyes on Florida Gator Kyle Pitts, the best tight end in college football. Speculation was that he would be taken before Miami’s draft pick in round one and he was. Even though he was no longer available when it was time for Miami to make their selection in the NFL draft, that was not a concern for the Dolphins. They chose the best available player at the time, Jaylen Waddle, and they later chose a good tight end with Hunter Long. But the Dolphins also knew they already had a great tight end that already had three years of NFL experience.
Mike Gesicki is probably one of the best kept secrets and probably one of the most underrated tight ends in the NFL right now. When you think of top tier or superstar tight ends in the NFL, Gesicki usually isn’t one of the names mentioned. Usually tight ends that are among water cooler conversations on Monday morning at the office are Kelce, Gronkowski, Kittle, and Ertz.
But the fact that Gesicki isn’t mentioned as a top tight end at the moment may be because nobody is paying attention except the Miami Dolphins and the teams he burned on incredible plays last year. The NFL’s official YouTube channel even has a video posted from December 2020 of Gesicki Highlights against the Bengals titled, Mike Gesicki Makes Grown-Man Plays, which features that incredible one-handed grab.
When anyone thinks about the most receiving yards in a season for a tight end, the average NFL fan would probably think Rob Gronkowski, George Kittle, Zach Ertz, Mark Andrews, Austin Hooper, or Hunter Henry. But in the 2020 NFL season, Mike Gesicki had 703 receiving yards, which were more than any of the previous names mentioned.
MIKE GESICKI IS STILL UNDERRATED
The only tight ends that had more receiving yards than Gesicki in 2020 were Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, and T.J. Hockenson. That meant as far as receiving yards, getting the ball moved down the field by reception, Gesicki was the fourth best tight end, not just in the AFC East, not just in the AFC altogether, but in the entire NFL. Out of over 100 tight ends that played in the NFL, it should be a comfort to the Miami Dolphins and their fans that their starting tight end is in the top five best of tight ends.
Analytically, Mike Gesicki has incredible 2020 stats that puts him among the best tight ends in the NFL. Last September he not only showed that he can pull in over 100 yards in a game but he made history doing so. Gesicki set a Miami Dolphins franchise record as having the most receiving yards in one game for a Dolphins tight end when he had 130 receiving yards against the Buffalo Bills.
As far as receiving touchdowns among tight ends, Gesicki was 9th with 6 caught touchdown passes, putting him among the top ten tight ends for caught touchdowns. From a statistical observation, the top two receiving tight ends in the league in 2020, Travis Kelce and Darren Waller, were both targeted 145 times. That is 60 more times that the football was thrown to the top two tight ends than Mike Gesicki’s 85 targets. Travis Kelce’s average yards per reception was 13.5 and Darren Waller’s average yards per reception was 11.2.
Mike Gesicki’s average yards per reception was 13.3, which was more than Waller’s and almost identical to Kelce’s. In a hypothetical scenario, if you took Gesicki’s 13.3 average yards per reception and calculated that 60 more times to equal Travis Kelce’s and Darren Waller’s 145 targets from Gesicki’s 85 targets, then Mike Gesicki could have realistically had 1,501 receiving yards and been the top tight end in the league while also being just 35 yards shy of being the NFL’s 2020 receiving leader. If there was anything that Gesicki did lead tight ends in 2020, it would be a 70 yard reception, which was indeed the longest reception among any NFL tight end last season.
Now that the Dolphins have added Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle to compliment DeVante Parker, it opens up the play calling for Mike Gesicki to become even more of an offensive threat and more productive than he ever has been before. Not only will he have more opportunities because of the added receivers, he will have those opportunities with a quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, that is used to making plays with tight ends since his playing days at Alabama.
After game 17 of the 2021 NFL season, it would be no surprise if Mike Gesicki is being listed in sports columns as the best tight end in the NFL.