By: Mark Leipold
- Strong at the Catch Point
- Field Awareness
- Body Control
- Freakish Athleticism
Strong at the Catch Point – Gesicki is an amazing athlete, and that translates into being strong at the point of the catch. He’s excellent at going up in traffic and securing the catch, even when the DB is covering him tightly. Contact does not bother him, and those jump balls will make him a valuable red zone asset in the NFL. Gesicki high-points the ball well, as you can see in the second clip.
Field Awareness – Gesicki consistently knows where he is on the field and is able to translate that understanding into sideline catches. It turns into a highlight reel, but it will also allow him to make tough plays at the next level, which will be very useful on third downs and two-minute drill.
Body Control – Gesicki has great body control for his size and is excellent at staying in bounds down the sideline. The toe-tap catches on the sideline and the back of the end zone will be most useful in the red zone. While similar to the field awareness, it does not necessarily mean he would be able to get his feet in bounds, so the combination is very important.
Freakish Athleticism – See all the videos above, but Gesicki is arguably the most athletic TE that has ever tested at the NFL Combine. The metrics are eye-popping, as he tested above the 95th percentile in most size-adjusted metrics and Nike’s SPARQ-X athleticism measure.
- Turning Upfield After Catch
- Bailing On Routes
Blocking – For being essentially the best athlete that has ever tested at the TE position at the NFL combine, Gesicki doesn’t seem to have figured out blocking. It’s certainly not a lack of athletic ability, so it’s either lack of technique, which can be fixed, or lack of effort, which can’t be fixed. I think the former is much more likely, so while his blocking might keep him off the field early on, it shouldn’t be a long-term hindrance.
Turning Upfield After Catch – Gesicki is athletic in space once he gets the ball, but he doesn’t turn upfield as quickly as I’d like to see. He has great top-end speed, agility, and burst for a TE, but doesn’t seem to be able to translate that into catching and turning upfield quickly on the field. This is another pretty minor concern but might throttle his YAC at the next level with more athletic defenders. In the last clip, he is unable to even catch the ball and stay on his feet, and it wasn’t a particularly low throw.
Bailing On Routes – This isn’t a concern that rears its head often, but this play is a head-scratcher. Obviously, Gesicki thought he was not getting the ball and turned upfield to try to get open for his QB. However, the second clip clearly shows that QB Trace McSorley was looking in his direction. Bailing on that route and not seeing that he was going to be targeted is inexplicable.
Gesicki is an absurd athlete, even by NFL standards. He may struggle to get on the field early in the NFL due to his struggles with blocking, but he’s pro-ready in terms of route running and catching, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him used early in certain situations. Gesicki is a polarizing prospect for the TE position, especially given that the position is shallow in fantasy. His athleticism alone puts him in a similar basket with some of the most successful TEs in the NFL. According to PFF, the TE position has the best correlation of NFL success with athletic measurables, so that bodes well for Gesicki.
Gesicki is a high-upside fantasy option, and he should be the 1st or 2nd TE off the board in most rookie drafts (along with Dallas Goedert). Tight ends are immensely dependent on landing position, and as we saw with OJ Howard last year, even the best TE prospects aren’t guaranteed early playing time. Gesicki easily has the upside to be a TE1 for fantasy in the right situation, but he could also be a low-end TE2 if he goes to a team with an established TE. He could sneak into the late first round in rookie drafts, but I’m most comfortable taking him around the mid-second round. He’s currently ranked as the TE4 and 38th overall by FantasyPros’ ECR as of March 10th when I wrote this, but that should rise significantly as we get closer to the NFL Draft, more experts submit rankings, and the industry finalizes their analysis – it’s still early in the process.