According to a recently released article by Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post, it is suggested that former Penn State Tight End Mike Gesicki could sit as low as fourth on the Phins’ TE depth chart.
Heading into the 2017 NFL Draft, Gesicki was highly regarded as one of the two best Tight Ends in the class. He and now Philadelphia Eagle Dallas Goedert often sat atop those rankings. In the 2017 draft, many expected the Saints to select a Tight End in the first couple of rounds. Instead, and to much disappointment, they didn’t select a single one in their class. I personally mocked Gesicki to the Saints several times as did several other analysts throughout the draft season.
With Penn State, the 6’6″ 250-pound Gesicki totaled 129 receptions, 1, 481 yards, and 15 receiving touchdowns. He also took the league by storm with an impressive NFL combine which included a 4.54 40 yard dash, 41.5″ vertical leap, and a 129″ broad jump showing off the explosiveness and athleticism that set him apart in college. You would imagine a guy with this type of talent would translate well to the NFL, but there are lots of questions surround why that hasn’t been the case.
This year they selected Notre Dame Tight End Alizé Mack in the seventh round, pick 231 overall. Mack looked good during OTAs and Minicamps and garnered a lot of excitement from fans and writers, myself included. He, even as a seventh round draft pick, has one of the most direct paths to the roster via the TE3 spot that was occupied by Dan Arnold in 2018.
Now, exploring a trade for Gesicki does not necessarily translate to giving up on Mack. Or Arnold for that matter. However, the competition for that roster spot is wide open. Working through the second week of training camp, Mack has been missing in action due to an injury he suffered on Thursday. Missing the last few practices forced the Saints into releasing QB J.T. Barrett (again) to make room for Monmouth UDFA Jake Powell to help populate the position in camp.
If Mack’s injury is one that will prolong and keep him out of camp or worse, exploring a trade for Mike Gesicki, if he is truly sitting that low on a Dolphins Tight End depth chart that includes veterans Dwayne Allen and Nick O’Leary and fellow second-year Durham Smythe.
On a personal note, I have a lot of faith in Alizé Mack if he is and can stay healthy.
It is important Gesicki has drawn countless comparisons to Coby Fleener, a player that left quite the sour taste in the mouths of Saints fans. But how much does this comparison stack up when comparing teams with completely different offenses. Does it stand to reason that Gesicki might perform better with a QB like Drew Brees as opposed to Ryan Tannehill, Brock Osweiller, and Ryan Fitzpatrick? Of course it does. Further, does it matter if Gesicki does not amount to much in New Orleans on a rookie deal as opposed to the seemingly astronomical contract (at the time) that was given to Fleener?
This are questions that the Saints would have to weigh if they decided to pursue the potential of going after a young and vastly unproven at the NFL level talent like the former Nittany Lion. If they decided to execute a trade for him, it would certainly cost some draft capital considering Gesicki was the 42nd overall pick in 2017. They could just choose to keep an eye on him to see if he is released after the final preseason game. Either way it would also have to come down to the severity of Mack’s injury, which may not be very serious at all. It will take some time before we really know his condition as teams are not required yet to report injury statuses. The Saints do enter game-prep style practices soon though as their first preseason matchup against the Vikings kicks off on Friday, August 9th. Perhaps by then, we will have a clearer picture of the Saints’ Tight End landscape.
Certainly an intriguing option to consider moving forward. Lots of questions surround the young player.