It’s that time again, Ravens fans. This marks the second article in a series done by myself and Phil – this time, we’ll break down our favorite tight end prospects. There was some pushback after our first article – I’d like to remind everybody that these articles aren’t necessarily talking about taking the prospect at 16, in fact, I’d be overjoyed if we traded back and nabbed most of these guys. Also, we’re doing an article on each position – keep that in mind when responding.
The weakest position on the 2017 Ravens was the wide receiver corps – by a wide margin. However, another position of need that could boost the offense in a big way is the tight end position. Today, we’ll look at two potential first round tight ends, Dallas Goedert, and Mike Gesicki, with Phil supporting the latter, myself, the former. Let’s get into it.
Chibs’ pick: Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
- 32 7/8” arm length
- 9 1/4″ hands
- 23 reps on bench press
- DNP in remainder of combine drills
Dallas Goedert had an okay year. 72 receptions for almost 1,200 yards and 7 touchdowns followed a year where he had 92 grabs for almost 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged a whopping 15.1 yards per reception over his college career, and is now enjoying comparisons to one of the premier NFL tight ends, Zach Ertz. This is one situation where stats tell a large part of the tale, and there’s no lie on paper about this kid.
Goedert has played all over the field at S. Dakota, a plug-and-play offensive weapon – the likes of which would open up the Ravens playbook. He’s big enough to play ‘over’ a linebacker, and would be a matchup nightmare in almost any situation. He’s figured out ways to get separation on short and medium routes, a problem that the Ravens struggled with in 2017, but also has the ability to stretch the field – while simultaneously making safeties look like children trying to cover a man. He has the ability to make highlight reel-worthy circus catches, in-air adjustments, and can make an impact at all three levels of the field. Goedert is also a willing blocker, with the size and technique to be competent. He uses his frame to his advantage, while having excellent hand positioning pad level. He’s been used at snap as a chip blocker, and then ends the play by catching a pass 15 yards down the field, showing his versatility and ability.
All that being said, Goedert is not without his flaws. He’s predictable in a sense, meaning that he gives his route away from time to time, with early leans and head movement. He’s put on weight, and as a result, he’s not as quick as he was in 2016. His after catch athleticism is mediocre (might be a bit harsh), so don’t expect him to make better defenders miss once he has the ball. All-in-all, though, it’s nothing that coaching and NFL-level coaching can’t fix, or at least help mitigate.
Let’s face facts. Joe needs a pass-catching tight end that he trusts, in order to play his best. He’s shown that time and again, with Todd Heap, Dennis Pitta, and most recently Benjamin Watson. A tight end like Goedert would not only give Flacco his big target, but would also open up the playbook – a sure-handed pass-catching tight end that can create mayhem wherever he lines up.
The Hot Take Kid’s Pick: Mike Gesicki, Penn State
- 34” arm length
- 10 1/8″ hands
- 22 reps on bench press
- 4.54 40-yard dash
Let me start out by saying I don’t think ANY tight end is worthy of being the 16th overall pick in the draft. This year or any other year. However, in the spirit of this article I will look at a player who’s value 3-4 years down the road could warrant a 1st round pick in April’s NFL Draft.
Joe Flacco has always thrived when he’s had a playmaker at the tight end position to throw to. In this draft class nobody fills that description better than Penn State’s Mike Gesicki.
I’ll be totally honest……I didn’t know much about Gesicki before last month’s NFL combine. Let’s be honest most casual football fans probably didn’t. After his performance in Indy, however, his name is now mentioned toward the top of the list of tight end prospects in April’s NFL Draft.
According to the numbers the Penn State product is taller than Calvin Johnson, faster than Antonio Brown, and jumps higher than Odell Beckham Jr.
Gesicki finished among the top tight ends in combine history at every drill he competed in. Pretty insane stuff.
Now I know the combine isn’t everything so I went back and watched some game film from his time at Penn State. First the negative that everyone will bring up first is his blocking ability or lack thereof. Can’t deny it……Mike Gesicki is not a good blocker. Not even average. He’s basically a larger receiver and in today’s NFL I’m ok with that honestly. The mismatch he presents against NFL linebackers speed wise outweighs his deficiencies as a blocker. His production at Penn State isn’t overly impressive but I’ll blame that on a conservative offense (didn’t have a single player over 900 receiving yards in 2017) and having the best running back in the country in their backfield.
On a more positive note…….the guy is a stud. At 6’6″ it’s easy to find him on the field. With his speed he’s often covered by cornerbacks down the field and the size difference in laughable. He would be an ideal redzone threat on Sundays and quickly become a favorite target of Joe Flacco.
Maxx Williams hasn’t panned out yet and Nick Boyle isn’t known for his pass catching ability. The Ravens need a playmaker at the tight end position and Gesicki would be my choice if they do decide to pull the trigger in the 1st round. The 16th overall pick is too early for me but if they trade back with a QB-needy team into the end of the first round he would be a great addition here in Baltimore.