As we lead up to the NFL Draft here at 1500ESPN, we will take a closer look at the prospects who could end up as Minnesota Vikings. For this edition, we focus on Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki…
Why the Vikings could draft Mike Gesicki:
There are a handful of tight ends in the NFL who are flat-out unstoppable. Players like Gronk, Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed, Zach Ertz etc. Every team who doesn’t have a mismatch tight end is looking for one – including the Minnesota Vikings. There may be more dire needs for the Vikings’ first-round pick, but they are looking to stack up weapons for new OC John DeFilippo to use as chess pieces. Gesicki’s ceiling is a top-notch mismatch nightmare with the ability to slide into the slot receiver spot. He dominated the Combine and played a significant role in the Penn State offense over the last two years.
What draft experts are saying:
“If you are looking for a tight end who can line up and help in the running game, he’s not your guy. However, if you want a pass-catcher who can get open and has the ball skills to win against linebackers and safeties, he might be your guy. Gesicki needs to improve his play strength and his issues as a blocker could limit the amount of teams who will target him, but he has a chance to become one of the better pass catching tight ends in the league.”
Pro Football Focus:
“Gesicki’s length stands out as he can get up the seam and he uses his frame to make o -target and contested catches. He can be a weapon in the middle of the eld, but like many of the tight ends in this class, he’ll have to be used in the right role in the run game. He struggles as an in-line blocker, but was capable enough when asked to block on the move. Gesicki is a mid-tier tight end in this class and he can work well with an aggressive quarterback willing to give him opportunities to win in tight windows.”
“Even though the routes aren’t always the prettiest, and he doesn’t always get separation, he figures out a way with his frame and vertical jump to get late separation.”
What the numbers say:
2017 stats: 57 catches, 563 yards, nine touchdowns, 72.2 percent catch rate, 17 slot receptions, caught 75 percent of contested targets (9-for-12), best in the nation among tight ends.
Gesicki is a Jimmy Graham-esque, one-dimensional receiving tight end who had impressive junior and senior years, ranking as one of PFF’s highest graded receiving tight ends, while coming up well short of par in run blocking.
Graphic via Pro Football Focus
There’s having a good Combine and then there’s demolishing the Combine. Gesicki’s results, save for his weight, look very similar to those of Jimmy Graham. He bolted to a 4.52 40-yard dash and jumped 41.5 inches.
Graphic via Mockdraftable:
Tight end would be a “luxury” pick for the Vikings in the first round, but in a deep interior lineman draft, there may be an opportunity to select another playmaker. The team’s hope in signing Kirk Cousins was they could stack weapons around him to maximize his skills. Drafting Gesicki would give them a good chance to do so.
Watch Mike Gesicki: