All Miami Dolphins draft picks are signed: TE Mike Gesicki gets 4-year deal

Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki signed Monday to complete negotiations for this year’s draft class for Miami. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

The Dolphins just wrapped up offseason workouts and scattered for some R&R, but they’re also primed to get down to business.

They signed second-round pick Mike Gesicki, a tight end, Monday, meaning all eight of their 2018 draft picks are signed and set for the start of training camp late this summer.

[RELATED: Don’t miss our exclusive photos from Dolphins OTAs in Davie]

Gesicki’s four-year deal is worth approximately $6.6 million.

Gesicki, from Penn State, was acquired to give Ryan Tannehill the downfield threat at tight end the Dolphins have lacked. He caught 129 passes for 1,481 yards and 15 touchdowns in three seasons as the Nittany Lions’ starting tight end and is a physical presence for secondaries at 6-feet-6 and 250 pounds.

“He’s aggressive to the ball and he can make plays,” coach Adam Gase said. “He’s a big man that can run and has really good hands. It’s been fun to watch him kind of develop and trying to learn this offense. He puts a lot of time into it. He’s trying to be one of those guys that can play fast.”

Gesicki said he and fellow rookie Durham Smythe, who were hotel roommates during the offseason program, spent many nights quizzing each other about the playbook. He said his primary concern was having coaches and teammates think of him as a player who “knows his role, his assignment and I want him on the field. I want him to make a play for us.”

[Cameron Wake describes what it takes to be successful]

[Dolphins left tackle Laremy Tunsil moves past ‘horrible taste’ of last season, poised for comeback]

[Who wins a race between Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant and Kenny Stills?]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.

Dolphins coach Adam Gase more confident than ever that he’s got a winning roster

Kenny Stills and the Dolphins’ offense are looking to snap back from a low-scoring 2017 season. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — Dolphins coach Adam Gase emerged from free agency defiant amid widespread criticism of the team’s offseason and claimed he had a winning roster.

Miami had just finished unloading Mike Pouncey, Ndamukong Suh and Jarvis Landry, as well as their massive salaries, and didn’t make any flashy signings to replace them. Still, particularly on offense, this group of personnel was closest to what Gase envisioned when he took the job in January 2016.

[RELATED: Don’t miss our exclusive photos from Dolphins OTAs in Davie]

He’s had a while, including the last four weeks of offseason practices, to reevaluate whether he was right about that and he’s now more confident than ever. Watching Ryan Tannehill work behind a remodeled offensive line with several new skill players confirmed for Gase that his offense is on track for a big comeback this season.

“I think so,” he said. “I see a lot of the guys doing things the way we need them done. I like the way that we’re handling the mental game of it as well. Things are moving fast. We’re reacting very quickly.

“Really, it’s going to come down to how we handle training camp when it starts to get hot (and) the preseason games. You’re always going to have an injury. Who’s going to step up and fill those voids? We’ve still got a long ways to go. The season is a long ways away. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us and we’ll just keep grinding.”

Tannehill is the biggest difference, taking command and making plays that were simply beyond the capacity of Jay Cutler and Matt Moore. Nothing makes Gase more confident than that.

While those outside the building have always had doubts about Tannehill, who has yet to produce an above-average season since being picked No. 8 overall in 2012, Gase has been unwavering in his belief that this is a winning quarterback.

He immediately bought into Tannehill’s ability as a dual-threat playmaker and thought all he needed was to be emboldened by a coach who pushed him into being more of a leader. He appears to have adopted some of Gase’s personality, and his past year and a half on the sideline made him fully fluent in Gase’s system as well.

Watching him operate that offense over the last four weeks heightened Gase’s optimism about the upcoming season.

“He’s gotten better,” he said of Tannehill. “We’ve been working (on) a lot of pocket movement things and getting him comfortable in that aspect. It doesn’t seem like he’s really changed much as far as worrying about bodies around him. He’s out there playing. He’s throwing the ball well. You can tell he’s spent a lot of time with these skill guys in the offseason.”

Almost everyone Tannehill will be throwing to is new to him. Among the main pass-catchers, only receivers Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker were playing a significant role in the offense when Tannehill went down in 2016.

He worked frequently with Albert Wilson, Danny Amendola, A.J. Derby and rookie tight end Mike Gesicki in player-run passing sessions this offseason.

“I feel right now that we legitimately have two groups of receivers that can play at a high level for us,” Tannehill said. “So if we want to sub somebody out and keep fresh legs in there, or if someone goes down, I don’t feel like there’s really going to be much of a drop off.”

Amendola and Wilson were both as good in Organized Team Activities as Gase anticipated, and Gesicki was a breath of fresh air at a position that’s hurt Miami for a long time. That said, there’s no certainty they’ll be able to perform like that against live defenses.

Is Wilson prepared to be used all over the field? Is Amendola going to be another overpriced, past-his-prime signing like Julius Thomas, Lawrence Timmons and Mario Williams? Are there ever any certainties when it comes to rookies?

Kenyan Drake has to prove himself as a versatile, every-down running back, something hasn’t done as a collegian or pro. Even if Drake thrives in that role, the Dolphins still need something out of 35-year-old Frank Gore or fourth-round pick Kalen Ballage (preferably both of them).

On the o-line, San Francisco castoff Daniel Kilgore takes over for Pouncey, Jesse Davis is a new starter at right guard and Laremy Tunsil looks to rebound from a frustrating season in which he was beaten or blocked the wrong man too many times.

And that’s just the offense.

With more than a month between now and training camp, and another month-plus until the season begins, Gase isn’t fretting over any of those things. For now, he likes what he sees.

“We’re gelling pretty good,” he said. “They like to practice against each other, they like playing together. You can tell there’s a lot of energy out there. I think that’s really one of the things that’s going to be improvement for us. We kind of lost that a little bit last year. This year we’re looking like we’re headed in the right direction.”

[Dolphins left tackle Laremy Tunsil moves past ‘horrible taste’ of last season, poised for comeback]

[Who wins a race between Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant and Kenny Stills?]

[Marjory Stoneman Douglas football team visits Dolphins practice]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.

Dolphins rookie TE Mike Gesicki rips through offseason practices

Gesicki (86) is the highest-drafted Dolphins tight end since 1974. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — The Dolphins’ top two picks in this year’s NFL Draft appear to be as good as everyone thought they were. That’s great when it comes to safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, but it’s essential with tight end Mike Gesicki.

Gesicki, the second-rounder from Penn State, is immediately on the spot to earn the starting job and add something to the offense that Miami’s been missing for years. Tight end has been a hugely problematic position for this team, which hasn’t had a good one since Charles Clay in 2014.

At 6-foot-6, 249 pounds with exceptional athleticism, Gesicki could be the trend-breaker. He’s got great speed for the position and presents a big target in the red zone with his leaping ability. The main question has been whether he can handle everything thrown at him mentally at this level and master the playbook, and he seems to be progressing well in that department.

“He’s had some really good days,” coach Adam Gase said at the end of Organized Team Activities. “(Wednesday) was a good example where we had a two-minute drill and we had some things in the red zone where he was able to take advantage of a couple matchups that he had.

[RELATED: Don’t miss our exclusive photos from Dolphins OTAs in Davie]

“He’s aggressive to the ball and he can make plays. He’s a big man that can run and has really good hands. It’s been fun to watch him kind of develop and trying to learn this offense. He puts a lot of time into it. He’s trying to be one of those guys that can play fast.”
Gase added that Gesicki’s “been good” with the mental side of the game as well. He’s been putting in extra study time with fellow rookie tight end Durham Smythe in their hotel room. The players take turn calling out plays for the other one to draw up on a whiteboard.

Gesicki isn’t much of a blocker and he’s working on that, but the Dolphins didn’t draft him to block. He caught 105 balls for 1,242 yards and 14 touchdowns in his final two college seasons, and that’s what they’re looking for out of him.

In the last three seasons, no Miami tight end has caught more than 41 passes and the position has been a glaring void in the offense. Julius Thomas’ season of that many catches, 388 yards and three touchdowns in 2017 was better than the Dolphins got out of Jordan Cameron and Dion Sims before him.

It’s not totally surprising given how little emphasis the organization has put on tight ends in the draft. Prior to this year, the Dolphins hadn’t selected one in the first three rounds since Michael Egnew in 2012. Gesicki is the third-highest picked tight end in franchise history.

[Dolphins left tackle Laremy Tunsil moves past ‘horrible taste’ of last season, poised for comeback]

[Who wins a race between Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant and Kenny Stills?]

[Marjory Stoneman Douglas football team visits Dolphins practice]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.

MarQueis Gray: Don’t underestimate Miami Dolphins’ crowded, diverse TE corps

MarQueis Gray is helping mentor the Dolphins’ two rookie tight ends. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — If there’s one player who could have done a double take at the Dolphins’ draft, MarQueis Gray is the guy.

It surprised no one when Miami took Mike Gesicki in the second round, but the real twist came two rounds later, when the Dolphins did a double take of their own, nabbing Durham Smythe — another tight end.

Yes, Gray was watching.

No, he says, he wasn’t sweating.

“We just got two new guys,” Gray nonchalantly said. “I’m not a stranger to it. I’m undrafted. I’ve been in competition all six years I’ve been in the league. So I didn’t really think too much of it.”

[RELATED: Don’t miss our exclusive photos from Dolphins OTAs in Davie]

Despite seeing Julius Thomas depart, Gray finds himself in a crowded room. Besides those three, the Dolphins also have Thomas Duarte, a former-seventh round pick in 2016; plus veterans A.J. Derby and Gavin Escobar, who were plucked off the waiver wire.

Although Gesicki might have the inside track because of his pedigree and the downfield threat he presents, he is a rookie, so the Dolphins have a long way to go toward settling on a starter.

In previous seasons, Gray said, “I either had a head guy that has been assigned or they brought in some all-star guy, like they did last year. For us to have an open spot this year is pretty rare. You are competing.”

Competing, but also teaching. Gray said all the tight ends have been splitting first-team reps, which can only compound the questions he gets from the rookies. He welcomes it.

“I didn’t have any choice,” said Gray, 29. “I’m the oldest guy in the room, I’ve been in this playbook the longest with Thomas. So anytime those guys have questions, whether it’s on offense or special tams, I’ve got to be the one to step up and help them.”

Gray’s primary message: “Just be able to get the formations down and everything else will come. So they’ve done a great job so far this offseason and it’s going to continue to grow during camp.”

Both draftees have impressed Gray.

Regarding Gesicki: “He’s been making plays. I see why we got him in the second round. He’s a big-time athlete and he’s going to help us out a lot.”

Regarding Smythe: “Oh, man. They talked about his run-blocking and he’s been doing a great job of it, but he also can get open and make those tough catches.”

Are people underestimating Smythe as a threat?

“I believe so. They’re underestimating everybody, really.”

Gray shouldn’t be underestimated. Even though he was a quarterback at Minnesota, at 263, he’s the heaviest of the tight ends and respected by the Dolphins for his blocking ability so much they gave him a two-year contract through this season. It wasn’t for his receiving ability; he caught just one pass for 10 yards last year.

Bottom line: The tight end competition will be one to watch in training camp.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that can do everything, really,” Gray said. “I mean, line up in the backfield. Play fullback. Line up in the slot. Line up at receiver. Tight end. We’ve got a lot of diversity in our room and that’s a real good thing to have.”

World Cup a ‘slam dunk’ for Hard Rock Stadium, Tim Robbie says

Miami Dolphins’ Cornell Armstrong mentored by Pat Surtain, Bobby McCain

Miami Dolphins’ Isaiah Ford holds first post-injury press conference

Jarvis Landry: I didn’t really have a good relationship with Ryan Tannehill (NFL Network)

[Which undrafted rookies have impressed Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke so far?]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.

Ready, draw! Nightly pop quizzes help Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki learn plays

Dolphins rookie tight end Mike Gesicki during organized team activities. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

DAVIE — If anyone is searching for that missing white board at the Dolphins’ training facility, the mystery can now be solved. Tight end Mike Gesicki made off with it after receiving permission that sounds only marginally convincing.

Tight ends coach Shane Day had suggested Gesicki get a white board so he and his hotel roommate, Durham Smythe, could review plays at night during the offseason training program. Rather than head to Target, Gesicki noticed there was a white board in the tight ends room.

“Hey, coach, can I have it?” Gesicki asked.

“I’m not using it,” Day said.

“So I grabbed it and brought it home,” Gesicki said.

While it’s entirely possible there’s also an Xbox in their room, the tight ends spend a chunk of most nights playing a little game on the white board.

“Calling it out quick and you draw it up,” Gesicki said of the Dolphins’ plays. “We’re just trying to simulate the huddle and simulate knowing everything on the fly and not just your job, but knowing everybody’s job.”

While that can only be a plus, the Dolphins would love for Gesicki to be able to do his job. He’s 6-feet-6 and 252 pounds. He caught 14 touchdown passes his final two seasons at Penn State. Put them together and it gives the Dolphins hope for a receiving threat at tight end they’ve lacked for ages, with the brief exception of Charles Clay.

“When the ball comes my way, it’s my job to make the play, whether it’s one-handed, two-handed, low, high or whatever it is,” Gesicki said.

Gesicki’s downfield ability hasn’t been on display often in practices open to the media, but quarterback Ryan Tannehill mentioned a one-handed catch from a closed workout.

“Honestly, I’m not worried about the production on field right now,” Gesicki said. “I’m not worried, ‘Man, I only had one catch yesterday. I didn’t score a touchdown today.’ Or anything like that because we’re sitting here and it’s June.

“We don’t have a game for another three months. What I’m most concerned about right now is just showing the coaches, showing the quarterbacks, the guys around me, my teammates, and trying to earn their respect that this kid knows what he’s doing, he knows his job, he knows his role, his assignment and I want him on the field. I want him to make a play for us.”

The white board helps make sense of the blur that often comes in the morning, when coaches dish out new concepts to absorb.

“You’re getting it 20 minutes once you come in,” Gesicki said. “You look through it and then you go out there. There’s a lot going on.”

But by the end of the week, players will scatter. OTAs and minicamps will be over. The players will be off until training camp.

Vacation? Hardly.

“There’s zero unwinding going on,” Gesicki said of his summer plans. “I promise you that. My foot is on the gas from now until February.”

[Rookies get a sample of the South Florida heat]

[Which undrafted rookies have impressed Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke so far?]

[Who wins a race between Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant and Kenny Stills?]

[Marjory Stoneman Douglas football team visits Dolphins practice]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.

Stability gives Dolphins TE A.J. Derby chance to win starting job

A.J. Derby is undaunted by the Dolphins drafting two rookie tight ends. (AP)

DAVIE — It is a widespread assumption that second-round pick Mike Gesicki will be the Dolphins’ starting tight end this season. He comes in with a higher pedigree than anyone else Miami has at the position, making him the most intriguing player in a room made up mostly of journeymen.

But A.J. Derby isn’t conceding anything.

After three-plus years bouncing around, Derby has gotten some stability since coming to the Dolphins on a waiver claim last November. Before the draft, when Miami took Gesicki and fourth-rounder Durham Smythe, coach Adam Gase talked about him as a candidate to start this year.

It’s a much different situation for Derby than last season, when he arrived in the middle of a game week from Denver and had little time to learn everything before the season ended a month later. Now, after spending the whole offseason in South Florida and buried in Gase’s playbook, he’s got a better chance to prove himself.

“Last year I was learning week by week the plays that were installed,” he said after practice today. “It didn’t get the full install in camp, but now I get to learn the ins and outs of the offense, so that’s awesome.”

As for the team drafting two players at his position, Derby added, “I don’t pay attention to the draft. They have their own reasoning for everything they’re doing. I don’t really look at. I’m just looking forward. I’m not worried about that.”

He has a significant edge over the rookies at this point because of his familiarity with the offense and the work he put in with quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Derby said he hit the field for many offseason throwing sessions, which has already helped him play better in Organized Team Activities.

Derby is a 6-foot-5, 255-pound pass-catcher who, at his best, has been a viable threat. He closed out the 2016 season in Denver with 16 catches for 160 yards over the final five games. He was solid in the first half of last season, too, going for 19 catches, 224 yards and two touchdowns in nine games while playing with some of the worst quarterbacks in the league.

Those numbers aren’t amazing, but the Dolphins would gladly settle for adequate production out of that position at this point.

Derby’s run with the Broncos ended with an unspecified injury, which prompted them to waive him. When he arrived in Davie, he said he was healthy and cleared to practice. He’s not sure why he wasn’t able to stick in New England or Denver, but he’s optimistic about what he can do for the Dolphins this year after a full offseason with the team.

“Being with Coach Gase is exciting,” Derby said. “He’s done a lot of great things with tight ends in his past. That’s why as a room we’re really excited and working so hard. We want to be there for the offense and make as many plays as we can.”

[Which undrafted rookies have impressed Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke so far?]

[Who wins a race between Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant and Kenny Stills?]

[Marjory Stoneman Douglas football team visits Dolphins practice]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.

South Florida heat blasts Dolphins rookies during offseason workouts

South Florida’s climate is brutal in May and June, but it only gets worse from here. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — They think they know.

They think they’ve practiced in the heat before, and sure this might be a little worse, but football is football.

No.

Unless they grew up in this area, Miami Dolphins rookies get knocked down by the overwhelming heat and humidity every offseason. It’s not even the worst time of year — that’ll come when they start training camp late next month — and it’s already brutal. It’s been around 90 degrees for most of Organized Team Activities and minicamp.

“The scary part is you say, ‘Oh man, it’s hot,’ and it’s not even hot yet,” said tight end Mike Gesicki, who is from the northeast. “That’s comforting.”

Fellow tight end Durham Smythe said he set a new personal record by sweating through three pairs of gloves during last Wednesday’s practice.

Smythe grew up in Texas before going to Notre Dame, so he has some reference point for the heat, but the humidity is what makes it suffocating during practices here.

“I was just drenched,” he said. “My shorts were heavy and things like that. Just something I need to get used to… It’s definitely an adjustment for everybody, but one that I think down the line will make us all better.”

The good (maybe) news for the rookies is that they return a week earlier than everyone else for training camp in part to get reacclimated to South Florida’s weather.

Last Tuesday, which might actually be the day Smythe was thinking of, quarterback Ryan Tannehill said the heat “caught up with” the offense and they struggled toward the end of practice.

Because of rain and lightning today, the Dolphins practiced in their indoor facility this morning. That was a nice change, but it also had Gesicki concerned about readjusting.

“We were in the bubble and it was awesome, man,” he said. “The bubble is just, like, the greatest thing in the world. When I go home and run, I might run in sweats just to simulate that heat so when we get back (outside) it’s not taking me by surprise.”

[Which undrafted rookies have impressed Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke so far?]

[Who wins a race between Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant and Kenny Stills?]

[Marjory Stoneman Douglas football team visits Dolphins practice]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.

Dolphins coach Adam Gase pleased with 2018 NFL Draft class so far

Dolphins rookie tight end Mike Gesicki and his fellow newcomers have approached their jobs the right way. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — It’ll take months, if not a year or two, for the Dolphins to find out exactly what they have in this year’s NFL Draft class. But the rookies’ early work has been impressive.

First-rounder Minkah Fitzpatrick has gotten great reviews all around and is competing for playing time at safety with Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald. Second-round tight end Mike Gesicki is in line for a starting job, and there could be a few other major contributors from the later-round selections.

Collectively, though, this group has done well since joining the team in late April. Over the last two months, including rookie minicamp and offseason practices, coach Adam Gase has seen players with the right mentality to make it as pros.

“That whole group, I like the way those guys are working,” he said. “I see them studying, especially here. It seems like they’re not quick to run over to the hotel. Guys are sticking around, whether it’s working out or staying in their meeting rooms and working on their own or working with somebody else or grabbing a veteran.

“I like the way this group is working and they’re trying to — They are playing a little bit of catch up. They’re lacking experience in this league. I think these guys are really pushing themselves to try to make sure mentally, especially this offseason, to catch up as much as they possibly can before training camp.”

The rookies have one week left of Organized Team Activities, which ends with four practices next week. Then they have about a month to get ready for training camp. That’s when the depth chart starts to take shape.

Of last year’s seven draft picks, only cornerback Cordrea Tankersley established himself as a full-time starter, and that took three games into the regular season. Raekwon McMillan also would have been the starting linebacker had he not torn his ACL in the preseason.

Beyond that, first-round pick Charles Harris started two games and fifth-rounder Davon Godchaux started five. Sixth-round defensive tackle Vincent Taylor appeared in 13 games off the bench.

Offensive guard Isaac Asiata (fifth round) was inactive most of the year because coaches said he wasn’t ready to play at the NFL level, and receiver Isaiah Ford (seventh) spent the season on Injured Reserve.

[Which undrafted rookies have impressed Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke so far?]

[Who wins a race between Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant and Kenny Stills?]

[Marjory Stoneman Douglas football team visits Dolphins practice]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.

Miami Dolphins believe they’re rich with passing targets

The Dolphins are counting on Kenny Stills to be a homerun threat, but they have other weapons. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — Dolphins coach Adam Gase has said a few times that this roster is built the way he wants it, particularly when it comes to receivers, and he’s brimming with confidence about how the passing game will look this season.

With Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker staying on as starters, plus the addition of Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson, the receiver room has undergone significant change. The team is also intent on using running back Kenyan Drake as a pass-catching threat and has a potentially dynamic tight end in second-rounder Mike Gesicki.

Those are six quality options without mentioning the threat of Jakeem Grant, rookie running back Kalen Ballage and tight end A.J. Derby.

“I feel right now that we legitimately have two groups of receivers that can play at a high level for us,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said today. “So if we want to sub somebody out and keep fresh legs in there, or if someone goes down — whatever the case may be — I don’t feel like there’s really going to be much of a drop off (in) production or ability with the group that we have.

“We have a really deep room right now. They work really hard. You see them every day out there grinding. Nobody’s complaining. They’re trying to get better each and every day and that’s what we want.”

Last year, with Miami enduring trouble at quarterback and on the line of scrimmage, plus Parker struggling, Jarvis Landry was by far the most targeted receiver. Almost 27 percent of the Dolphins’ pass attempts went his way, and the trio of him, Stills and Parker accounted for 60.1 percent.

The distribution should be a little more widespread this season. Gase believes he has more maneuverability, too, and has been enjoying the chance to move Wilson all over the place in offseason practices.

He’s a multi-talented threat. Stills has versatility. Amendola is one of the most trusted slot receivers in the league. Drake is the fastest running back Miami’s had in a while. Gesicki is the highest-drafted tight end on this team since the 1970s. Parker, the No. 14 overall selection in 2015, likely still hasn’t peaked.

“If we stay healthy,” Gase said, “we should have a lot of guys that can make plays.”

The other benefit to Gase is that he believes he’s reshaped the receiver corps into a group that won’t be derailed by ego. If no one has a great year statistically, but most of them have a good year, he doesn’t see that being a problem.

That takes some pressure off Tannehill, too.

“They’re not complaining,” Tannehill said. “They’re not griping about not getting the ball.

“But when you do have talented guys, you want to get them the football. I think it’s a balancing act… trying to get guys involved, finding them rhythms in the game and help them be productive.”

[Kenny Stills is exactly what the NFL needs, so why is it alienating him?]

[Who wins a race between Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant and Kenny Stills?]

[Marjory Stoneman Douglas football team visits Dolphins practice]

Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.

Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki: ‘I’m going to get where I need to be’ as blocker, too

Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki at rookie mini-camp in Davie. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

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.

[Photos: Miami Dolphins rookies report to minicamp]

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.

Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki was the Dolphins’ second-round pick this year, taken 42nd overall. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

“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.”

Ten reasons the Dolphins won’t stink as much as Vegas thinks

Ten reasons the Dolphins could stink as much as Vegas thinks

[What Gase saw in RB Kalen Ballage’s college film]

[Dolphins formulating offseason plan for Tannehill]

[Dolphins aren’t moving T.J. McDonald from safety to linebacker]

[Miami Dolphins’ 2018 salary cap spending shows their priorities]

How Nick Saban feels about Miami Dolphins’ Minkah Fitzpatrick

Ranking every Miami Dolphins offseason addition, 1-25

Get our articles sent right to your Facebook feed by clicking here