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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 Release Jamaal Charles, Promote Linebacker DeLuca

Demetrius Harvey

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Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have released running back Jamaal Charles after trading for Carlos Hyde and have promoted Linebacker Nick DeLuca. Charles was brought in to be a change of pace back for the Jaguars after placing Corey Grant on season-ending injured reserve.

The Jaguars traded for Carlos Hyde last week making Charles expendable. Charles accounted for 7 yards on 6 caries for the Jaguars. He also added two catches for seven yards. Running back Leonard Fournette has not been ruled out to play this week either and will travel with the team to London according to Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone.

Nick DeLuca is a rookie linebacker from NDSU. He was signed to the practice squad earlier in the season and has now been promoted due to the injury to linebacker Donald Payne. Payne will be out at least a couple of weeks with a knee injury.

 

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Editorial: The Jacksonville Jaguars have nailed their own coffin

Zach Goodall

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Oct 21, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Houston Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus (59) tackles Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) and forces a fumble during the first quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

In electing to stick with Blake Bortles as their starting quarterback, despite benching him for a poor performance against the Texans and watching his backup Cody Kessler vastly outperform him in the same game, the Jacksonville Jaguars have nailed their own coffin.

Now sitting at a 3-4 record, on a three game losing streak, and in third place in the AFC South (the Titans own the tiebreaker for second place), it was clearly time for change to get this ship steered in the correct direction. Just seven weeks aggo, this Jaguars team was viewed as a potential Super Bowl contender. Right now, this team is projected to pick in the first half of the 2019 NFL Draft.

And they can’t blame anyone but themselves at this point.

“We can’t do s**t until we stop turning the ball over. Period. That’s just how it is,” head coach Doug Marrone said following the loss to the Texans. “…the first thing we’ve got to do is stop turning the damn ball over.”

In three consecutive games, the latest of which he barely played past halftime, Bortles has eight turnovers of his own: Five interceptions and three fumbles.

“I spoke to both quarterbacks this afternoon and told them that Blake will be our team’s quarterback. I believe this gives us the best opportunity to win,” Marrone stated in a release from the team after Bortles was named the team’s starter going forward.

What?

In a 24 hour period, Marrone has stated that, while turnovers are the Jaguars biggest issue, the player who is responsible for countless amounts of turnovers gives the team the best chance to win football games. That is the message that is being sent to this team, and the Jaguars fan base.

And the team isn’t happy. Star cornerback Jalen Ramsey was quoted saying “It is no secret what’s going on here right now. Ain’t nobody going to say it because we can’t, but it ain’t no secret what’s going on and it ain’t right right now,” after the loss to the Texans. Given the circumstances, it’s hard to assume this was shade thrown at the quarterback situation.

Ramsey deleted a post of him and Bortles shaking hands on the field from his Instagram this morning.

Defensive tackle Abry Jones put the responsibility of the offenses deficiencies on the defense, quoted saying “We can’t let them [opposing offenses] score at all.”

The Jaguars have chosen to be complacent, and in doing so, this season will continue to plummet. The confidence is low heading into London this week, and the Eagles pass rush should have an easy job forcing Bortles into more poor decisions as this Jaguars team appears to be on track to a 3-5 record at their bye week.

This team was supposed go contend this year. At one point in September, the Jaguars had single digit odds to win the Super Bowl. But that is all in the rearview mirror, as the Jaguars have nailed their own coffin in naming Blake Bortles the starting quarterback of a team that is already beginning to implode.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars announce Blake Bortles will remain the starting QB

Zach Goodall

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Sep 16, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) attempts a pass against the New England Patriots during the first half at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

24 hours removed from his first career benching, where he was clearly outplayed by his own backup in a 20-7 loss to the Houston Texans, Blake Bortles has been named the starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars for Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles in London, per the team.

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone announced in a statement: “I spoke to both quarterbacks this afternoon and told them that Blake will be our team’s quarterback. I believe this gives us the best opportunity to win.”

This comes under two hours removed from Marrone saying he had made his decision already but planned on addressing the team before releasing that information to the public. Bortles was benched after committing two turnovers against the Texans on Sunday, and Kessler completed 21/30 passes for 156 yards, a touchdown and an interception in his place.

Bortles has committed eight turnovers in the past three weeks.

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