At the moment of this writing, the Dolphins have 6 tight ends on the roster, but realistically, at most we will carry 4, and even more likely 3. The two guaranteed to stick are the most recent draftees, 2nd RD pick Mike Gesicki and 4th RD pick Durham Smythe. After Gesicki and Smythe, the coaches seem to really like A.J. Derby who was picked up last season after DEN waived him. There is also 5 YR veteran MarQueis Gray, and recent pickup Gavin Escobar who played for the Cowboys for 4 seasons. Also still hanging around is Thomas Duarte, Dolphins 2016 7th RD draft pick. We have better depth at TE than any time in recent memory, and this should be a fun battle to see play out because the 3rd and possibly 4th spots should be really competitive.
Mike Gesicki TE – 6’6″ 250
2018 2nd RD pick, Gesicki is the kind of athletic receiving threat many fans have been craving for more than a decade. 4.54 speed, 41.5″ vertical, 6.76 3 cone, this guy is a fast, agile, explosive athlete. He will be in a tough battle for playing time with his fellow draftee Durham Smythe, because what Gesicki lacks in blocking skills, Smythe has in spades. Gesicki has made it clear he is willing to block and learn how to, and wants to become a more rounded NFL TE.
Durham Smythe TE – 6’5″ 253
2018 4th RD pick, Smythe was a big part of the success of the run game at Notre Dame. Known for his excellent blocking, toughness and tenacity, he truly helped propel the Irish’s running game. Seldom used as a receiver, just 28 receptions and 244 yards and 6 TD’s in 4 seasons, he definitely has value as a receiver too. Smythe’s blocking skills should enable him playing time as an inline TE and also as a 2nd TE.
A.J. Derby TE – 6’4″ 255
Derby is a former 6th RD pick of the New England Patriots who was eventually cut by NE and picked up by the Denver Broncos. In 2016 Derby caught 16 passes for 160 yards with the Broncos. Derby played only one season at TE for Arkansas, so he came into the NFL pretty inexperienced. He has good speed, running the 40 in 4.67 at his pro day. In DEN in 2017, Derby caught 19 passes for 228 yards and 2 TD’s. For the Dolphins, Derby appeared in 9 games, catching 2 passes for 20 yards. Not a huge body of work for the soon to be 27 year old TE, either in college or the pros, but the coaches here see potential, although he will have to realize some of that potential in TC and preseason games to stick here.
MarQeuis Gray TE – 6’4″ 263
Gray has spent the last 2 seasons here in Miami, but has played for Cleveland, Tampa, Buffalo and Minnesota. In 2014, Gray made his NFL tour having a cup of coffee with the Bucs, Vikes and finally settling in with the Bills. The Dolphins picked him up in 2016 and has played appeared in all 32 games, with 7 starts. As a Dolphin, Gray has 15 receptions for 184 yards. Gray has lined up as a 2nd TE and also H-back/FB, and has shown decent blocking ability.
Gavin Escobar TE – 6’6″ 260
Escobar played 5 seasons for the Cowboys and although he didn’t get a ton of opportunities, he certainly made the most of them. Escobar caught a total of 30 passes for 333 yards and 8 TD’s. Not a blocker, he’s definitely a receiving TE. Escobar has long arms and big hands, and despite the fact he doesn’t have good speed, he has good reliable hands and with 8 TD’s in only 30 receptions, he makes them count. I think Escobar and Derby are will be in a tight competition to claim what may be the last 1 or 2 posts on the roster at TE.
Thomas Duarte TE – 6’2″ 244
Duarte has spent the last 2 seasons on the PS after being drafted in the 7th RD of the 2016 NFL draft by the Dolphins. Duarte was a WR at UCLA who has bulked up with the hopes of being a move TE in the NFL. Not a blocker, but a smooth, athletic route runner who really came on his senior season at UCLA, catching 53 passes for 872 yards and 10 TD’s. The Dolphins like Duarte, they have kept him around for 2 seasons on the PS, and I think his best bet to remain with the team would most likely be in that capacity again. He will have a hard time beating out veterans Escobar and Derby, but a very strong showing could give him an outside shot.