After reading the title of this precarious article you will probably assume it revolves around the New York Giants‘ struggles with containing opposing tight ends on defense. On the contrary, they have controversy and objections on both sides of the ball, but I want to focus on the offense and where the tight end position currently sits.
How have the New York Giants used their tight ends in 2018?
At the current stage of a 3-8 season, the Giants have tried to utilize former first-round pick Evan Engram in a majority of packages. The problem seems to be his catching ability, or lack there of. Engram was drafted to be a threat down the middle of the field, also referred to as the “seam.” Head coach Pat Shurmur just doesn’t seem to take advantage of the second-year tight end’s supposed skill-set. In fact, he’s on managed 257 yards through 12 weeks compared to a 722 yard rookie campaign.
It’s fair to mention that Engram was thrusted into the top receiving option for Eli Manning after Odell Beckham Jr.’s season-ending injury. His stats are a bit padded, especially with his ugly eight dropped passes. My argument, though, seems to take me away from Engram and towards Rhett Ellison.
I believe that Ellison is simply the better option at tight end and should be utilized more frequently. Why, you might ask? Because he can catch the ball just as efficiently, but he can also block well. When Ellison joined the Giants in 2017, his primary assignment was to be a blocker. We have seen him evolve into more than that, and it should earn him more playing time than the struggling Engram.
Ellison has 212 yards and one touchdown this season, just a tad less than Engram, but he offers far more in the running game. Last week, he amassed 77 yards on four catches. His impact on the game was significant and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Evan Engram Vs. Rhett Ellison:
Given the fact that Engram was drafted for his catching ability, it’s only fair to compare his catch-rate to Ellison’s. To some surprise, he falls far below that of the veteran, landing at 55.7% in 2017 and 69.7% in ’18. Ellison on the other hand caught 75% of balls in 2017 and 76% in ’18 (so far). Someone please explain to me why Jerry Reese felt it was necessary to draft a glorified wide receiver in the first round while having Beckham and Sterling Shepard on the roster…
Another argument you could make would be: Engram is far more productive in the deep passing game. You would be wrong; Ellison and Engram both average 11.2 yards per-reception. The most underwhelming part behind these statistics; Engram earns double the amount of receptions per-game (3.3) and Ellison has still managed to keep up with him in regard to overall receiving yards and yards-per-catch.
What do you think? Should the Giants continue to use Ellison in a more prominent role? He can block after all.