Gesicki Lands on Miami Dolphins’ 53-Man Roster

Former Southern Regional Star Begins Rookie Season
Sep 05, 2018
Courtesy of: Miami Dolphins ROOKIE ROUTE: Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (86) goes out for a pass during a preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A few days after being drafted by the Miami Dolphins, Mike Gesicki said he was excited about working hard to prove himself to head coach Adam Gase and the rest of the coaching staff, and that making the Dolphins’ 53-man roster for the upcoming season was the goal.

After being signed to a four-year contract in June, Gesicki cleared the first hurdle on Sept. 1, as Miami pared down its roster, and Gesicki remained. The former Southern Regional star and Manahawkin resident is one of seven rookies to earn a spot on the roster and among four tight ends, also including fellow 2018 draft pick Durham Smythe, sixth-year veteran MarQueis Gray, and A.J. Derby, who’s in his fourth season.

Listed at 6-foot-6, 245 pounds on Miami’s website, the 22-year-old Gesicki will wear No. 86. Earlier last week, the Dolphins’ depth chart showed Gesicki and Smythe as the fifth and sixth options at tight end, with Gray and Derby the top two and Gavin Escobar and Thomas Duarte occupying the third and fourth spots. Escobar, who’s played five seasons, was released on Saturday while Duarte, in his second season, was waived.

Leading up to the NFL’s 4 p.m. deadline to cut rosters to the mandated 53 players, Miami made 36 transactions between its 34-7 preseason victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, Aug. 30 – in which Gesicki didn’t play, along with many players expected to have significant roles this season – and Saturday afternoon.

Not surprisingly, Gesicki had been silent on his social media channels throughout the preseason, but that hasn’t stopped others from saying a lot about him. According to numerous reports through mid-August, Gesicki had shown steady improvement within the Dolphins’ offensive system, and on Aug. 9, for Miami’s first preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gesicki was listed as the starting tight end.

For the second preseason game against Carolina on Aug. 17, Gesicki again was among the starting crew, and against Baltimore on Aug. 25 he finally hauled in his first completion as a Dolphin – a 10-yard grab on third-and-1 on a pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill to extend a second-quarter scoring drive.

After the game, Tannehill was asked if he had said anything to Gesicki following that reception.

“I didn’t even realize it was his first catch,” Tannehill said with a laugh. “Mike’s been doing a good job for us in practice, making some big-time plays this week. This week, he had some big-time plays in practice and everyone is really confident in what he can do for us. I’m excited about where he’s at. He’s only going to continue to grow and get better but he’s going to be a huge advantage for us, especially in the red zone.”

Throughout the preseason, Dolphins insiders with several media outlets in the Miami area have been raving about Gesicki, on a couple of occasions referring to him as a “freak athlete,” and one Dolphins’ writer – columnist Andy Cohen – stating it’s been a long time since Miami has had a tight end with Gesicki’s “type of receiving skills.”

Gesicki ended up with just the one preseason catch, but for the final preseason game against Atlanta, he was given an off day – pretty much a clear-cut signal he was going to make the 53-man roster for the start of the season.

Now the real stuff begins for Gesicki. Miami hosts the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 9, starting at 1 p.m. Interestingly, the Dolphins’ first road game of the season will bring them to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford to square off against the New York Jets, also slated for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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