Mike Gesicki had a pretty lackluster rookie season, but let’s not give up on him just yet. Tight end is a position where guys tend to struggle as rookies.

We kicked that around some yesterday, with the Iowa tight ends selected in the first round. Rarely do you see a rookie tight end light it up right away.

Extending that reasoning, there must be more of these guys becoming relevant in their second and third seasons.

Gesicki looks like one of those guys. He looked pretty awesome at Penn State, and the thinking was he was going to be a big part of Miami’s offense. I noticed last year that they were trying to use him in the red zone (albeit with little success). Gesicki finished his first year with 22 catches for 202 yards, with no touchdowns.

Pretty ho-hum stuff, but if we look at other tight ends who also had quiet rookie seasons, there are some who developed into good players. Todd Heap, for example, caught 68 passes and 6 TDs in his second season. Vernon Davis, Kyle Rudolph and Coby Fleener all moved up from crappy to over 50 catches.

Below see a table I cobbled together. It shows 18 tight ends who caught fewer than 30 passes in their first year, and then how they performed in year No. 2. As a group, these guys caught 400 passes for 4,830 yards and 40 touchdowns as rookies. They generated 643 catches for 7,527 yards and 74 touchdowns in their second seasons.

If you want to average it out, these guys as rookies averaged 22 catches for 268 yards, with 2.2 TDs. In their second seasons, they averaged 36 catches for 418 yards, with 4.1 TDs.

Most notably, of these struggling tight ends (who were all originally selected in the first and second rounds), all but three of them caught at least 4 TDs in their second year.

Gesicki is a player I will be watching closely in August. Looks like a good choice as a second tight end (in a 12-team format). If history holds, he’ll outproduce a lot of the rookie tight ends who are chosen before him.

YearPlayerRookie2nd Yr
2000Anthony Becht, NYJ16-144-236-321-5
2001Todd Heap, Balt.16-206-168-836-6
2001Alge Crumpler, Atl.25-330-336-455-5
2002Daniel Graham, N.E.15-150-138-409-4
2002Jerramy Stevens, Sea.26-252-36-72-0
2003L.J. Smith , Phil.27-321-134-377-5
2003Dallas Clark, Ind.29-340-125-423-5
2006Vernon Davis, S.F.20-265-352-509-4
2006Tony Scheffler, Den.18-286-449-549-5
2006Joe Klopfenstein, St.L.20-226-12-37-1
2008Martellus Bennett, Dall.20-283-415-159-0
2011Kyle Rudolph, Minn.26-249-353-493-9
2011Lance Kendricks, St.L.28-352-042-519-4
2012Coby Fleener, Ind.26-281-252-608-4
2014Eric Ebron, Det.25-248-147-537-5
2014Austin Seferian-Jenkins, T.B.21-221-221-338-4
2017Gerald Everett, LAR16-244-233-320-3
2017O.J. Howard, T.B.26-432-634-565-5
2018Mike Gesicki, Mia.22-202-0?-?-?

—Ian Allan