DAVIE — The pun was unintentional but still too good to not point out.
Mike Gesicki, a second-round draft pick whom the Dolphins are counting on to fill an age-old need for a receiving threat at tight end, probably would have been drafted even higher than 42nd overall if not for a knock on his blocking ability.
“All that stuff, ultimately, I try to block it out,” he said Friday.
But before anyone gets the idea that he is and always will be a liability in the run game and pass protection, Gesicki has a message for everybody he wants to block out.
“If you guys know anything about me, and who I am, I’m extremely competitive,” Gesicki said. “I’ve worked my tail off each and every day, so I’m going to get where I need to be.”
At 6-foot-6 and 252 pounds, Gesicki appears to have the frame to move people out of the way. Things such as technique and extra time in the weight room are coachable. Most would say more coachable than the quickness and route-running that enabled him to catch 57 passes for 563 yards and (perhaps most importantly) nine touchdowns for Penn State last year.
“I think my best attribute would be high-pointing the ball, going and making contested catches, scoring touchdowns in the red zone — that kind of stuff,” Gesicki said. “Making big plays. That’s one of the reasons I was picked where I was.”
On the flip side, so too might have been shortcomings in his blocking, which the Dolphins obviously feel they can improve.
“I’m nowhere where I need to be,” Gesicki said.
Gesicki brings athleticism that the Dolphins have often lacked at the position. But he’s a work in progress.
“I didn’t put all my effort and energy into football until I got to college,” he said. “I was always playing football in the fall. I was playing basketball in the wintertime, volleyball in the springtime, and then obviously lifting, running and all that kind of stuff in between. That’s why I say I haven’t really scratched the surface of the player that I can become.”
Gesicki was a decorated volleyball player who led his high school team to two state championships in New Jersey. He also won a state title in basketball and had offers from Patriot League universities in that sport.
“And then obviously you take the visits for football,” Gesicki said. “You go to Penn State. You see 110,000 people in the stands and you’re like, ‘All right. I’m playing football.’ ”
Although he played receiver in high school, the Nittany Lions made him a tight end. The Dolphins made him a professional tight end.
“That label, ‘the athletic tight end,’ I think, yeah, it fits me,” Gesicki said. “But I will continue to work to be a complete tight end.”