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Miami Dolphins

2021 Miami Dolphins Training Camp Preview: Tight Ends

Today, our training camp preview series takes us to the tight ends' room. To reserve your spot at Miami Dolphins training camp, click the photo below.

Personnel Changes

Table inside Article
Additions Departures
Cethan Carter (CIN)
Hunter Long (2021 NFL Draft)
Jibri Blount (2021 UDFA)

Coaching Staff

Under George Godsey, Miami tight ends set franchise records with 91 collective receptions for 1,061 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2020. The receptions and yards were best in Dolphins history while the 11 touchdowns tied the team record. Godsey, entering his third year with the Dolphins, will take on a new role as co-offensive coordinator in 2021, in addition to his tight end responsibilities. Godsey's track record demonstrates a thorough understanding of the various positions on offense, as he has coached every position across the unit except offensive line. He even worked as a defensive assistant with the Lions in 2017.

Group at a Glance

Despite hitting franchise marks across the board among Dolphins tight ends in 2020, Miami added competition to the room. Cethan Carter was a special teams captain with the Bengals, Jibri Blount is bursting with length and athleticism, and Hunter Long was among the most productive tight ends in college football last season.

The incumbents you know. Mike Gesicki finished in the top 10 among tight ends in the three major categories (receptions -- 53; yards – 703; and touchdowns -- six). Durham Smythe set career-bests in all three categories (26/208/2) and Adam Shaheen matched or beat his prior highs (12/127/3), as well. Chris Myarick made his NFL debut last season appearing in three games as a practice squad call-up.

The Cast

Acquired just before training camp via a trade with the Bears, Adam Shaheen accomplished several personal goals and career firsts in 2020. To start, he played in all 16 games, a first for the fourth-year tight end. His three touchdowns matched a career best and his 43-yard catch-and-run in the Week 6 win against the Jets was the longest of his career.

Shaheen allowed just one quarterback pressure on 39 pass blocking snaps and helped clear lanes for the Miami run game as the end-man on the line of scrimmage.

In addition to setting career-bests in the major receiving categories, Durham Smythe functions in multiple blocking capacities, whether he's climbing to the second level, sealing the edge or coming across the formation to dig out the backside defender. Smythe didn't allow any hits on the quarterback on 66 pass protection snaps and was on the field for 231 run blocking plays last season.

Smyth has also been a core special teams ace for Miami since his rookie year in 2018. He tallied 224 snaps on Danny Crossman's special teams units, playing a key role on the third-ranked  special teams unit in 2020, per Football Outsiders.

Operating in multiple roles for the Bengals the last three years, Carter aligned all over the offensive formation and was used largely in a blocking role. He wins with effort and technique, as evident on a 62-yard screen pass to Joe Mixon in 2017 where Carter sprints 25 yards downfield for the key block.

Carter has finished in the top 50 in the NFL in special teams tackles all three years of his career (missed 2018 with an injury). He has 24 tackles on 896 career special teams reps while earning a career-best 82.1 special teams grade in 2020, per Pro Football Focus.

Leading college tight ends in 2020 with 57 receptions, Hunter Long is another well-rounded addition to the room. The first two years of Long's career were spent in a run-heavy attack that called on Long to do the dirty work as a run blocker. Under a new coaching regime in 2020, Long became the focal point of the Eagles' passing game, showing his skill as a receiver.

"I always say that I feel like I got the best of both worlds at BC with both offenses," Long said. "Obviously it was a more run-heavy offense and this past year, we really opened up the pass game. I think it allowed me to become a well-rounded tight end and work at all aspects of the position."

Long caught 67 percent of his passes and averaged 14.6 yards per catch with nine career touchdowns at Boston College.

Making his NFL debut in 2020, Myarick appeared in three games and played 15 snaps (seven on special teams, eight on offense). At 6-foot-5, 261 pounds, Myarick came to the pros with an established college resume as a run blocker. He's been on the practice squad the last two seasons working to further develop his game.

Author of highlight reel catches and the most production by a Dolphins tight end since Randy McMichael, Mike Gesicki's career trajectory continues to climb. He's improved across the board statistically each of his three NFL seasons and is developing a reputation as a big-play tight end. His 11.6 average depth of target finished second behind only Rob Gronkowski (11.9) among qualified tight ends. As a result, Gesicki tied for fourth among tight ends with 13.3 yards per reception last year.

Gesicki caught 17 of the 29 contested catch opportunities he had in 2020 (PFF). He averaged 8.57 yards per target and his 1.60 yards per route run were a career best. His 703 receiving yards were fourth-most and his six touchdowns tied for eighth among tight ends.

The tight end position in the NFL has always held ties to the basketball court. Jibri Blount hopes to be the next player to make the jump from the hardwood to the gridiron. Splitting his college hoops career between Cleveland State (2015-2017) and North Carolina Central (2018-2020), Blount stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 245 pounds. He averaged 19.1 points and 9.3 rebounds per game while also leading the conference in steals en route to the 2020 MEAC Player of the Year Award. If his name sounds familiar, his father is legendary Pro Football Hall of Famer Mel Blount.

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