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2018 NFL Draft: How TE Mike Gesicki Would Fit With The Jaguars

Zach Goodall

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Sep 9, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions tight end Mike Gesicki (88) runs with the ball during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Pitt 33-14. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NFL Draft is three weeks from today.

With NFL teams finalizing their draft boards, and needs being relatively evident for each team after the free agency period came and went, it’s time to begin evaluating prospect fits at positions of need for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

To begin this series, let’s look at how Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki would fit into the Jaguars’ offense.

Measurables: (#) = Percentiles vs. NFL TEs

Height: 6-5 1/2 (78)        40 yard dash: 4.54 (92)          20 shuttle: 4.1 (95)

Weight: 247 (21)               Vertical: 41 1/2 (98)                60 shuttle: 11.33 (96)

Arms: 34 1/8 (84)            Broad: 10-9 (96)                       Bench: 22 (65)

Hands: 10 1/4 (78)           3 cone: 6.76 (98)

Strengths

Mike Gesicki is an incredible athlete, as seen by his measurables. But, if those numbers aren’t enough to convince you, Gesicki was a three-sport athlete in high school, playing not only football but basketball and volleyball as well.

Gesicki’s combination of size and athleticism presents a matchup on paper that most defenders would be scared of facing, and his on-field production backs that up. He finished his career as Penn State’s all time leader in receptions at tight end, with 129 catches for 1481 yards and 15 touchdowns. 11 of his 15 touchdowns came in the redzone.

On top of his ability to track balls and dominate defenders on 50-50 balls, Gesicki is a relatively clean route runner and utilizes his athletic prowess to create his separation.

Penn State often spread Gesicki across the field, whether it be as an outside receiver or a big slot to in-line TE and H-back, and he was able to produce as a receiver from every spot. Teams are looking for dynamic tight ends that can line up just about everywhere and produce (see: Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, etc.), so it doesn’t shock me that Gesicki often gets compared to the tight ends mentioned as a receiver.

Weaknesses

Gesicki has one glaring weakness on tape: He can’t block.

I do believe the ability to pull-block in the run game is there for Gesicki when he lines up as an H-back/fullback, but as seen in the GIF above, Gesicki doesn’t have the reaction time to block speed rushers, and he also lacks the anchor to take on power rushers 1v1.

Below is an example of Gesicki as a pulling H-back, a positive aspect of his blocking ability:

He lacks the power and hand-usage to maintain his block, but his timing to cut off defenders on inside zone can be utilized when running the ball from the shotgun.

As a receiver,  Gesicki doesn’t have many weaknesses other than his strength, which I noted when talking about his blocking. He has the ability to avoid jamming near the line of scrimmage due to his explosion off the line and athleticism, but if a defender does land a jam on Gesicki, he struggles to get back in stride to complete his route. However, considering the way I view Gesicki as a fit in Jacksonville, these weaknesses don’t bother me all too much…

Fit in Jacksonville

If the Jaguars are to select Gesicki, I expect them to incorporate him in the offense as a “big slot” TE/WR combo position. The team lacks star power in their receiver corps, and other than the potential that newly-signed WR Donte Moncrief offers, the Jaguars don’t have a true 50-50 type of receiver that they once owned in Allen Robinson.

QB Blake Bortles utilized the playmaker in Robinson when he saw the field, often pitching the ball his way with a high trust level that, even if the ball was inaccurate, Robinson would come down with the pass more so than not. Gesicki has the potential to offer Bortles’ this both outside and in the slot, and after releasing the 6-3 WR Allen Hurns, who played 35.9% of his snaps from the slot in 2017, the Jaguars don’t currently have a big-play threat within the numbers and up the seams.

Bortles also seems to be most comfortable as a passer in the redzone, where he has 36 touchdowns and only two interceptions in the past two seasons. As I noted above, 11 of Gesicki’s 15 touchdown receptions came in the redzone. The tight end would likely become Bortles’ #1 target within the opponent’s 20 yard line from the get-go.

TL;DR: Gesicki could ideally replace Allen Robinson’s big-play ability and Allen Hurns’ role at the same time in playing the “big slot” position, with the size to win in the middle of the field and the athleticism to be a deep threat and trusted 50-50 guy, especially in the redzone.

Yes, Jacksonville wants to run the ball. Drafting a tight end who excels as a blocker would make a ton of sense. But Mike Gesicki possesses the skillset that teams dream of in their tight ends as a big-play threat — a skillset that the Jaguars entire receiving corps seems to lack. He’s my dream pick for the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 29th overall selection.

Zach Goodall covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Locked On Jaguars podcast and website. Follow him on Twitter @zach_goodall.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars finalize coaching staff after landing offensive coordinator

Demetrius Harvey

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Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have finalized their 2019 coaching staff. They’ve officially hired their offensive coordinator as well as other staff members. John DeFilippo was the headliner for today as the replacement for Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator.

The Jaguars also announced the remainder of their staff. As we covered in the past couple of weeks they have hired several position coaches, including Terry Robiskie as running backs coach, George Warhop as the offensive line coach, and Tim Walton as the secondary coach.

The rest of the staff was a mystery until today. The Jaguars announced they will be promoting assistant defensive line coach Jason Rebrovich to defensive line coach, and they have hired David Merritt as their assistant defensive line coach. Merritt spent the past season as the Arizona Cardinals defensive backs coach. Joe Danna will be promoted as well and will be coaching the safeties. Danna has been on the Jaguars staff as an assistant secondary coach since 2017. John Donovan, another assistant coach for the Jaguars, will be promoted to assistant running backs coach.

It is worth noting in today’s presser Marrone stated Tim Walton will coach the cornerbacks, and Joe Danna will coach the safeties. “I thought we could get more out of our coaches and players if we split the secondary,” Marrone said. This is worth noting as Walton actually held a similar role with the Giants for the past couple of seasons.

Scott Milanovich will remain on staff as the quarterbacks coach. Milanovich was the play-caller for the final five weeks of the season. Milanovich has been with the Jaguars as a QB coach since 2017.

There were no other major coaching changes on the Jaguars roster as the rest of the staff will stay intact.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars will retain quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich

Zach Goodall

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Nov 26, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars will retain Scott Milanovich as their quarterbacks coach, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

Milanovich filled in as interim offensive coordinator after Nate Hackett was fired midseason, but the offense saw no improvement with the QB coach calling plays. However, the team appears confident that the former Grey Cup-winning CFL head coach can handle the responsibilities of quarterbacks coach, a position Milanovich has held since Doug Marrone was named head coach in 2017.

The team hired John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator earlier today. You can read why he was a fantastic hire here. Marrone mentioned during his press conference today that Milanovich and DeFilippo have a previous relationship in Maryland.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars to hire John DeFilippo as offensive coordinator, per report

Zach Goodall

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Credit: 247Sports.com

The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to hire John DeFilippo as their offensive coordinator, per report.

DeFilippo was the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator during the 2018 season, but was fired during Week 15, apparently due to a conflict of play-calling interests with head coach Mike Zimmer, who wanted to focus more on the run game than DeFilippo’s strengths with the pass game.

However, despite a lack of calling the run, Vikings quarterback had a historic season as a passer when it came to efficiency, being the first QB in NFL history to throw for 4000+ yards, 30+ touchdowns, 10 or fewer interceptions, and complete at least 70% of his passes. Much of this can be credited to DeFilippo’s influence in the passing game.

Previous to Minnesota, DeFilippo was the Philadelphia Eagles QBs coach during their 2017-18 Super Bowl run, where he was key to the development of Carson Wentz and rejuvenation of Nick Foles’ career after Wentz tore his ACL. He also served as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2015, where then-36 year old Josh McCown posted the second most touchdown passes of his 13 year career with 12 in eight games, along with 2109 passing yards, a 63.7 completion percentage, and only four interceptions.

DeFilippo’s first NFL coaching job came in 2005 as an offensive quality control coach under then New York Giants head coach and current EVP of Football Operations for the Jaguars, Tom Coughlin. So there’s a definite connection to the team in ths hire.

At the end of the day, the Jaguars number one priority this offseason has to be, and will be, fixing their passing game woes. Quarterback Blake Bortles needs to be replaced, and the team’s next signal caller must be groomed into a successful QB. DeFilippo has proven with Cousins, Foles/Wentz, as well as Josh McCown in Cleveland during the 2015 season, that he’s capable of doing just that.

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