When New York Giants‘ first-round pick Evan Engram entered the NFL, his biggest weakness was his blocking ability.
This was a known fact for those making the decisions for the Giants at the time, but the potential of the young tight end out of Ole Miss was just too enticing to pass up. Early scouting reports had Engram developing into a Jordan Reed (Washington Redskins) type of player, which would have been very beneficial for Eli Manning and the offense.
Coming out of college, Engram weighed 227-pounds, and at the end of the 2017 season in New York, he had put on nine-pounds of lean muscle (236-pounds). Adding size to his frame will ultimately help him develop as an overall blocker, and compared to teammate Rhett Ellison, he has a bit more size to gain.
— New York Giants (@Giants) December 6, 2017
The Giants acquired Ellison to be their specialized blocking tight end last season — he weighs in at 250-pounds. Ellison’s contract has an out in 2019 for just $8.5 million. If Dave Gettleman chooses to keep him on the roster he would lock up $5.75 million in 2019 and $6.25 million in 2020 of cap-space.
The plan should be to bulk up Engram and release Ellison after the 2019 season, which would open up more than $5 million in cap-space.
Engram’s other weaknesses:
The other major weakness for Engram is his dropped passes, as he recorded five over the course of his rookie campaign. This can be seen as a concern for the Giants; but when compared to Jimmy Graham (7 dropped passes) or Travis Kelce (5 dropped passes), Engram’s totals can be taken with a grain of salt.
When comparing their receptions, Graham finished with 57, Kelce 83, and Engram 64. We must also factor in the lack of receivers for the Giants, and the amount of pressure the offense put on Engram to act as their No. 1 target on a weekly-basis.
Moving forward, Engram can develop as a blocker by putting on a few more pounds of size and learning alongside Ellison. Dropped passes can be fixed with a simple technique change, and taking away some of the pressure that has been put on the young tight end in 2018.
We can expect to see Engram develop gradually over the course of next season, and adding Odell Beckham Jr. and some solid offensive lineman should give him the confidence to take his game to the next level.