Tua Tagovailoa should have a big season in 2021 for the Miami Dolphins. He has to make a big step forward but who will be his top receiver?
We are going to assume that the WR unit will initially set up with DeVante Parker, Jaylen Waddle, Preston Williams, Will Fuller, Albert Wilson, and Lynn Bowden, Jr. will make up the primary WR roster and while we can’t discount Jakeem Grant, we can safely say that he is very unlikely to be a go-to option for Tagovailoa.
We can also say that Mike Gesicki will be the top tight-end option as well even if Hunter Long plays a significant role. So of these pass catchers, who will be his first look receiver? Who is the player that he will look for when he needs to make a play?
Many would like to think that his history with Jaylen Waddle would make him a likely target, often, but in reality, Waddle is going to have a lot to learn his rookie season and while he could be a major factor in the Dolphins offense, Tagovailoa is likely going to target someone with more experience.
DeVante Parker would initially come to mind as would Will Fuller but Fuller is going to be more of a deep threat and Parker can be inconsistent at times. I think Tagovailoa will look Parker’s way enough that Parker leads the team in receptions but I’m not sure he will necessarily lead the team in target to reception ratio. Parker is going to see plays drawn up for him but I don’t see Tua looking for him when he gets into trouble.
That role, in my opinion, will belong to Mike Gesicki. Gesicki has become surehanded and reliable, maybe even the most consistent route runner on the team and he is reading defenses much better. The addition of Waddle and Fuller and perhaps the retention of Grant could spread the field out more than it has the past couple of years and if that happens, Gesicki is likely going to be matched with linebackers who may not cover that well.
Gesicki is going to be a target all over the field. Outside slants, curl routes underneath coverage, slants behind the linebackers, and he should easily find holes in coverage gaps to settle into. He will be used from anywhere on the field and should be a big part of the red zone packages.
Each receiver is going to play a certain role but this year, Mike Gesicki should become Tagovailoa’s favorite target and if that happens, it will make for an interesting off-season in 2022 when Gesicki heads towards free agency.