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.

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“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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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An Adam Gase pet peeve — not studying playbook — is non-issue with Miami Dolphins TE Durham Smythe

Dolphins rookie tight end Durham Smythe talks to the media.

DAVIE — The Dolphins have needed an upgrade at tight end for ages, but when they took Notre Dame’s Durham Smythe in the fourth round — the second tight end they selected in the draft — an obvious question was why take a guy who had only 15 receptions his senior season?

One clue can’t be sound in his stats with the Irish or his draft bio, but in a tirade Dolphins coach Adam Gase went on after getting blown out by the Baltimore Ravens on national TV last season. That’s when Gase said too many players weren’t committed enough to put in time studying their playbooks after they left the facility.

Smythe doesn’t appear to fit that profile in the least.

“In college I was the guy who kind of used the mental part of the game as a strength,” Smythe said Monday. “I knew the playbook extremely well. I could go out and play extremely fast because I knew it so well.”

He doesn’t know the Dolphins’ playbook extremely well. Which isn’t a criticism at all. Find an NFL rookie who claims to know his playbook inside and out in June and you’ve found a dreamer. Smythe knows what he doesn’t know, and he’s doing all he can to correct that.

“It’s all about going out there, taking a lot of time outside of the building to get familiar with the playbook and kind of just roll with the punches,” he said.

Before the newcomers even arrive in Davie for rookie camp and OTAs, the Dolphins send them the playbook — or so it appears.

“When you first get it, it only has a couple of installs,” Smythe said. “So you’re, ‘OK, I’ll be able to handle this.’ And then you come in the first day and they throw you a stack that’s just as big as the stuff you’ve gone over for two weeks.

“Like I said, it’s just about rolling with the punches.”

Smythe said it’s not usual for coaches to throw something new at them early in the morning, expect players to practice it later that morning, then play catch-up to figure out what’s really going on at night.

“You try to play fast and then you go home at night and try to focus on it then,” Smythe said.

Smythe said the concepts are similar to what the Irish ran, but there is one major difference.

“Volume,” he said. “Big time.” The Dolphins’ playbook, he estimated, is “maybe like 100 percent bigger.”

The scouting book on Smythe was that he was the anti-Mike Gesicki, the Dolphins’ second-round pick. Smythe’s strength is blocking, not receiving. Gesicki caught 57 passes and scored nine TDs last year.

But Smythe thinks he may have caught everything thrown his way thus far in Davie.

“I feel like with the offense we ran at Notre Dame and kind of our philosophy of what we wanted to do, obviously I wasn’t targeted as much, didn’t have as many catches,” Smythe said. “I think that’s something that I tried to show throughout the pre-draft process, through the Senior Bowl and things like that. It’s something I could do as well. I think they have confidence and I do as well.”

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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.


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.”

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Miami Dolphins TE Durham Smythe: UM fans broke Notre Dame’s bus window

Notre Dame tight end Durham Smythe leaps for a touchdown against the visiting Hurricanes in 2016. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

DAVIE — Tight end Durham Smythe, a fourth-round draft pick of the Dolphins, can expect a warmer welcome at Hard Rock Stadium than the last time he was there.

Smythe played at Notre Dame, which isn’t exactly popular in the Miami Hurricanes’ stadium. So unpopular, in fact, that Smythe described the rowdy welcome the Irish received last season.

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“We kind of expected a loud atmosphere but nothing close to what it was,” Smythe said. “That was one of the loudest stadiums I’ve played in my five years.”

The “incredible” atmosphere, as Smythe called it, was fueled by the unbeaten Hurricanes pounding No. 3 Notre Dame 41-8 on a night that conjured memories of UM Saturday nights in the Orange Bowl.

It was a party for everybody but the Irish.

“We had people throwing stuff at the buses driving up,” Smythe said. “Actually our window was shattered and we had to get a new bus. It was pretty crazy stuff.”

Go figure, but Smythe insisted he still has good memories of his new home stadium.

“The atmosphere was great,” he said. “Obviously the outcome was terrible, but I did love playing in that stadium.”

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2018 NFL Draft: Goals for Miami Dolphins’ draft class this offseason

What’s realistic for Minkah Fitzpatrick? (Getty Images)

With the Dolphins’ recent draft class reporting for rookie minicamp this weekend, they’ll need an iPad more than shoulder pads.

The first step toward securing a spot on the depth chart will take place indoors as 20 rookies dive into a playbook they’ll need to nail down by the time Miami hits the field for Organized Team Activities in two weeks.

The goals are incremental, starting with simply proving they’re serious enough about this opportunity to stick around for the four weeks of offseason practices. After that it’s earning the right to stay for training camp in July, when the real competition for jobs begins. The 85-90 players Miami has in camp will scrap for 53 spots.

Of the 20 players expected in Davie this week, only the first five draft picks can reasonably assume anything about their future. Anyone picked in the sixth or seventh round, as well as the dozen undrafted free agents, has nothing close to a guarantee.

As the rookies class begins its venture into this new world, going from college stars to that guy who carries Cameron Wake’s pads off the field, here’s the outlook for the eight players Miami drafted last month:

Minkah Fitzpatrick, safety, first round
As good as he is and as much as everyone raves about him being pro-ready, Fitzpatrick is no guarantee to knock T.J. McDonald out of the starting lineup. McDonald is 27 and looked good enough a year ago that Miami gave him a four-year, $24 million extension before he ever played a game. The test run of him and Jones on the back end didn’t go smoothly, and he’ll probably show up to OTAs ready to prove himself again.

The key for Fitzpatrick is to learn quickly and show versatility. The more he can do, the more defensive coordinator Matt Burke will look for places to get him on the field.

Mike Gesicki, tight end, second round
Gesicki is the most likely player in this draft class to earn a starting job, and the Dolphins are banking on him doing so. They have no one like him at the position. He was drafted to be the receiving threat this roster is missing at tight end, and his physical ability should be overwhelming compared to his competitors on the depth chart.

Route-running is the No. 1 job for Gesicki. If he is reliably in the right spots for Ryan Tannehill during offseason practices, it bodes well for his role in the offense going forward. A good showing will prompt Adam Gase to rework his plans over the monthlong break between June minicamp and training camp.

Jerome Baker, linebacker, third round
As thin as the Dolphins are at linebacker, Baker’s in for quite a fight at the position. Undrafted veterans Mike Hull and Chase Allen have stayed on the team because they’re technically sound, and former first-round pick Stephone Anthony is in a contract year. Beyond those players, Baker’s also got to outplay seventh-rounder Quentin Poling.

Baker is more of a coverage linebacker than a thumper, which should work well with what Miami needs. The plan for now is to install Raekwon McMillan at middle and Kiko Alonso on the outside. Baker’s got the requisite speed to capture the other outside job.

Durham Smythe, tight end, fourth round
By their own admission, the Dolphins basically drafted one tight end to can catch passes and one to block. Smythe is the blocker, but he’ll have to be more than that. Even Anthony Fasano, a role model for him, was a factor in the passing game. Over an eight-year span beginning in his third season, Fasano averaged 31 catches, 352 yards and four touchdowns.

That’s a good goal for Smythe. The Dolphins currently have A.J. Derby as a pass-catching threat and MarQueis Gray as a seasoned, savvy player who blocks well and occasionally springs loose as a receiver.

Kalen Ballage, running back, fourth round
Be fast and know the plays. Gase won’t ask much more than that out of Ballage. Kenyan Drake is the clear starter for the Dolphins at running back, and Frank Gore isn’t here merely to play professor. Ballage needs to get himself ready to fill in for Drake this season and to play with him starting in 2019.

In the meantime, he’s got an opportunity to be a threat on special teams. He clocked a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and was an effective kick returner each of his last two seasons at Arizona State.

Cornell Armstrong, cornerback, sixth round
The Dolphins’ plan for cornerbacks is to have a lot of them. Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley are the starters, Bobby McCain and Tony Lippett are reinforcements and it’s Hunger Games for everybody else.

Armstrong has 4.4 speed, but wasn’t a particularly outstanding high school or college player. He’ll have to be convincing to assure himself of making the cut over the next four months and he’ll be competing with Torry McTyer, Tracy Howard, Jordan Lucas and others to do so.

Quentin Poling, linebacker, seventh round
The Dolphins currently have eight linebackers on the roster, and Poling is last in line of that group. Additionally, the team is bringing in Cayson Collins from North Carolina and Mike McCray of Michigan as undrafted free agents, and there typically isn’t a huge difference between seventh-round picks and undrafted guys.

Poling’s got good strength and speed, which gives him a nice start in trying to win a job as a special teamer and second-string linebacker. While he’s got some decent competition, this is a position that’s mostly wide open for Miami.

Jason Sanders, kicker, seventh round
Sanders’ situation comes down to the fairly simple question of whether he can outperform undrafted Florida Atlantic kicker Greg Joseph. Whoever makes more kicks and looks better on kickoffs will take Cody Parkey’s old job — unless, of course, someone better becomes available in free agency.

Sanders made 25 of 35 field goals (71 percent) in his college career and hit 111 of 112 extra-point tries. Joseph, who played at American Heritage in Delray Beach, made 57 of 82 field goals (70 percent) and 165 of 170 extra points.

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2018 NFL Draft: grades Miami Dolphins’ 2018 draft class

Minkah Fitzpatrick seemed too good to last all the way to No. 11. (Getty Images)

The Dolphins’ recent NFL Draft class looked pretty good overall, with the exception of them being unable to land a quarterback they liked, but there doesn’t seem to be much praise for the work they did.

One analyst thinks they did OK, though. Lance Zierlein, who does a lot of the site’s pre-draft assessments, put Miami 18th in his NFL Draft power rankings this week. That’s much better than the team scored with ESPN’s Mel Kiper and another breakdown.

The Dolphins were surprised they could get Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick at No. 11, thinking he was no worse than a top-six talent. They followed by addressing needs at tight end in the second round (Mike Gesicki) and linebacker in the third (Jerome Baker), then went for a playmaking running back in Kalen Ballage in Round 4.

“The addition of Fitzpatrick adds more consistency and a strong presence to the back end,” Zierlein wrote. “It will be important for the Dolphins to fit Gesicki into the right role — he’s pass catcher who shouldn’t be asked to do much blocking—but if they do, he could pay off in a big way.

“The rest of the their draft was relatively solid but unspectacular, with the performance of (fourth-round tight end Durham Smythe) and Ballage potentially determining whether this draft was a success.”
Here’s the Dolphins’ full draft class, which reports for rookie minicamp next week:

First round, No. 10 overall: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
Second round, No. 42 overall: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
Third round, No. 73 overall: Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State
Fourth round, No. 123 overall: Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame
Fourth round, No. 131 overall: Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State
Sixth round, No. 209 overall: Cornell Armstrong, CB, Southern Mississippi
Seventh round, No. 227 overall: Quentin Poling, LB, Ohio
Seventh round, No. 229 overall: Jason Sanders, K, New Mexico

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2018 NFL Draft: Miami Dolphins need TE Mike Gesicki’s impact immediately

Tight end Mike Gesicki joins the Dolphins as a second-round pick. (Getty Images)

It won’t take much for new Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki to be considered a success. He might have extraordinary expectations, but the franchise’s standards at his position have been dangerously low for years.

As the tight ends have grown increasingly important in passing attacks league-wide, the Dolphins have been way behind. Their most recent failed experiments were Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron, and drafting Gesicki in the second round at No. 42 was a desperate attempt to finally find a long-term answer at the position.

Gesicki comes in from Penn State with basketball-style athleticism and a 6-foot-6, 249-pound frame. Over his junior and senior seasons, he combined for 105 receptions, 1,242 yards and 14 touchdowns.

He was first among tight ends at the NFL Combine in 40-yard dash with a time of 4.54 seconds, which was better than what some highly ranked wide receivers clocked. He also finished No. 1 in vertical leap (41.5 inches), broad jump, three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle.

That’s a lot to work with, and the Dolphins get the opportunity to start shaping him when he arrives with the rest of the draftees next week for rookie minicamp. They’ll also bring in at least a dozen undrafted rookies.

Their hope for Gesicki, whom they chose over Dallas Goedert, is that he can provide a red zone threat that’s been missing at tight end for years.

Before this continues, a brief history of Miami Dolphins tight ends:

— Anyone 26 or younger has never witnessed the splendor of seeing one selected to the Pro Bowl.

— The franchise record for touchdown catches at the position is seven by Keith Jackson in 1994 and Anthony Fasano in 2008. Seven.

— Of the four previous tight ends they’ve drafted since 2010, Dion Sims topped out with a 26-catch season in 2016, Thomas Duarte has appeared in one game, Michael Egnew caught seven passes in two years before dropping out of the league and Arthur Lynch never made it.

— They’ve never picked one in the first round.

Absorb all that and it makes sense that Thomas’ 41 catches, 388 yards and three touchdowns actually qualified as a decent year by a Dolphins tight end. It was better than what they’d gotten from anyone else at the position since letting Charles Clay walk in free agency in 2015.

Coming into this year, it would’ve been more of the same. Miami’s best hope prior to the draft was A.J. Derby, a 26-year-old they got off waivers from the Broncos last season. He’s shown some promise on the practice field, but the Dolphins were his third team in two seasons and he’s got 37 career catches.

Behind Derby, the team would’ve gone into the upcoming season with MarQueis Gray (27 career receptions), Gavin Escobar (30) and Duarte (none). To say that tight end was a draft need would be putting it gently.

The Dolphins answered by taking Gesicki at No. 42, the third-highest they’ve ever picked a tight end, and adding Notre Dame’s Durham Smythe in the fourth round. Gesicki is the receiver of the two, and Smythe is the blocker.

They’ve bypassed some serious tight ends in the draft lately, including Ole Miss’ Evan Engram and University of Miami’s David Njoku a year ago in favor of drafting defensive end Charles Harris at No. 22. Engram went one pick later and put up 64 catches, 722 yards and six touchdowns for the Giants, while Njoku had a reasonably solid rookie year in Cleveland with 32, 386 and four.

Another notable miss came in 2013, when the Chiefs landed a generational tight end in Travis Kelce at No. 63 overall—nine picks after Miami took cornerback Jamar Taylor.

Clay was the last great find, emerging as an above-average tight end after the Dolphins scooped him up in the sixth round in 2011. He’s never made a Pro Bowl, though he did give Miami 127 catches, 1,364 yards and 10 touchdowns over the 2013 and ’14 seasons. Those numbers aren’t overwhelming, but only Randy McMichael had a better two-year run.

Clay left for Buffalo on a five-year, $38 million contract in 2015, and the Dolphins didn’t deem him special enough exercise their option to match the deal. Over the ensuing two years, Thomas was the best replacement Miami could find.

Thomas, by the way, was a player the Dolphins acquired because the Jaguars were about to waive him. He would’ve been in the free agency bargain bin had Miami not traded a seventh-rounder to get him, and that’s the kind of shopping this team doesn’t want to do anymore.

Now the Dolphins have their own young, gifted tight end and the chance to mold him into exactly what they need. In one sense, there’s little pressure on Gesicki because the standards haven’t been very high, but there’s also a lot riding on him finally being Miami’s breakthrough at a position that’s been problematic for a long time.

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2018 NFL Draft: Dolphins load up at TE with Notre Dame’s Durham Smythe

Durham Smythe is the newest Miami Dolphin. (Getty Images)

DAVIE — The Dolphins are taking tight end seriously in this year’s NFL Draft after a few years of struggling at the position.

They took Notre Dame tight end Durham Smythe in the fourth round today at No. 123 overall and will pair him with Penn State’s Mike Gesicki, who they chose 42nd last night.

Smythe, 6-foot-5, 253 pounds, has been credited as one of the better blocking tight ends in this year’s class, which will be particularly important for Miami if veteran Anthony Fasano does not return. Fasano, who also played at Notre Dame, was someone he studied on film as he developed in college.

While Gesicki is a basketball-style athlete who the team hopes will become a huge factor in the passing game, Smythe was brought in to fill a different role. In 22 career games at Notre Dame, he caught just 28 passes for 381 yards and six touchdowns.

Gesicki and Smythe have a chance to be Miami’s top two tight ends going into the season. Prior to the draft, the team had four players at the position who have yet to prove themselves as viable contributors in the passing game.

A.J. Derby would have been the likely starter and he has 37 career catches. Now he’ll compete with Gesicki for the top job. The Dolphins also have MarQueis Gray, Thomas Duarte and recent signee Gavin Escobar.

Here are the Dolphins’ picks so far:
First round, No. 10 overall: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
Second round, No. 42 overall: Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
Third round, No. 73 overall: Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State
Fourth round, No. 123 overall: Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame

And here are their remaining selections today:
–Sixth round, No. 209 overall
–Seventh round, No. 227 overall
–Seventh round, No. 229 overall

[Vote: Grade all of the Dolphins’ draft picks]

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