Is Penn State's Mike Gesicki the next Zach Ertz?

Penn St ProDay Football
Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki catched a pass during Penn State’s Pro Day in State College, Pa., on Tuesday.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Mike Gesicki has spoken with representatives from all 32 NFL teams, but he knows there is an emphasis on Philadelphia, with the Eagles’ need at tight end now that reserves Brent Celek and Trey Burton are gone.

Gesicki, who graduated from Penn State in December, will likely be one of the first tight ends drafted on April 26. And there is a possibility the Eagles could fulfill their need for the position with him late in the first round.

“I think I can fit in an offense like that,” he said Tuesday at Penn State’s pro day. “Also, Zach Ertz is one of the best in the business. I watched a ton of his film and watched the Super Bowl. … That’s how I envision myself as well. It’s going to be an exciting next five, six weeks, but we’ll see how it all pans out.”

Saquon Barkley did not participate in the pro day, but Gesicki was joined by defensive backs Marcus Allen, Christian Campbell, and Troy Apke; linebackers Jason Cabinda and Brandon Smith; and running back Josh McPherson.

[Mike Gesicki’s stats, 2017 gamelog]

Mike Mayock, a draft analyst for the NFL Network, recently compared Gesicki to Ertz. Gesicki is 6-foot-5 and 247 pounds, and Ertz is 6-5, 250. While Gesicki sees the comparison in some aspects, the Manahawkin, N.J., native isn’t letting it go to his head.

“I think it’s hard to say, ‘Mike Gesicki, you’re like Zach Ertz,’ when Zach Ertz just caught 65 balls and won a Super Bowl,” said Gesicki, who had 57 receptions for 563 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior. “I think I have a lot left to prove to be in those kinds of categories.”

However, Gesicki compares himself to Ertz in terms of talent, perspective and playmaking ability.

In an impressive showing at the NFL Scouting Combine, the former Nittany Lion ran a 4.54-second 40-yard dash and recorded a 41.5-inch vertical leap, which he was satisfied with. However, he was not satisfied with his broad jump of 10 feet, 10 inches.

“People were like, ‘A 10-10, that’s awesome,’ but I actually landed 11-3 and fell back, which would have been a combine record for a tight end,” Gesicki said. “I was thinking about redoing it today then was like, I’ll just sit on my 10-10.”

He didn’t have much to prove at Penn State’s pro day. But he did want to make one thing clear.

“Another thing I know that I can do, and there’s a lot of criticism on it,” Gesicki said, “I know I can go in and I can be in on third-and-short and I can block, and I can do everything that’s asked from the tight-end position. I’m excited for wherever I’m going, to get into camp and just prove myself.”

Until then, he will have to wait. And with Gesicki’s father being a New York Giants fan, his family and friends have been joking around about the possibility of going to Philadelphia.

“I’ve been keeping up with everything,” Gesicki said of mock drafts. “There’s honestly not a point to it because at the end of the day when your phone rings on April 26 and it’s time to go, then it’s time to go.”

 

Camera icon Steven M. Falk
Mike Gesicki, catching a touchdown against Temple in 2016, is the next great tight end to come out of Penn State.