Penn State’s Mike Gesicki kept the Nittany Lions in the national spotlight again Saturday.
A day after Saquon Barkley tore up the NFL Combine, Gesicki followed up with a mind-bending performance in Indianapolis — one that ranked among the best by any prospect Saturday and easily the best among tight ends. Among TEs, he boasted the top vertical (41.5 inches), the top broad jump (129 inches) and tied for the fastest 40 (4.54 seconds).
“I’ll tell you what, I’m impressed,” said Greg Olsen, a three-time Pro Bowl tight end. “Now, that’s as good as we’ve seen these last couple years.”
No tight end helped his draft stock more, and few players improved their standing more than Gesicki. LSU wideout D.J. Chark was named the MVP of Saturday’s Combine after a 4.34 40, but Penn State’s tight end wasn’t far behind.
Among players at his position, Gesicki set a new standard.
His vertical put him in the 97th percentile among tight ends since 2010. His broad jump? The 94th percentile. His 40? The 90th percentile. The last time a tight end put up better numbers in all three categories was seven years ago, when Nevada’s Virgil Green proved to be a workout warrior with a 4.54, a 42.5-inch vertical and a 130-inch broad jump.
“I compared him to Zach Ertz of the Eagles,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said, referring to Gesicki, “but he’s more athletic.”
Added Olsen: “You get compared to Ertz, you’re in pretty good company.”
Prior to his performance, Gesicki was widely seen as a second-round selection and maybe the NFL draft’s third-best tight end. Afterward, sideline reporter Kimberly Jones reported that an NFL team told her it was worried it wouldn’t be able to get Gesicki now — in the first round. Other websites and analysts also now peg Gesicki as a potential late first-round selection.
Gesicki’s numbers elsewhere remained impressive. He finished first among tight ends in the three-cone drill (6.76), 20-yard shuttle (4.10) and 60-yard shuttle (11.33), and he was second with 22 bench-press reps. It was the fastest shuttle by a tight end since 2011’s Jordan Cameron (4.03) and the best three-cone drill by a TE since 2012’s James Hanna (6.76).
He received lots of love Saturday, and he should be receiving a lot more in the coming weeks before the NFL draft.
“He is a matchup nightmare regarding linebackers and safeties,” Mayock said. “Nobody’s going to want a piece of that.”