How the New York Giants can get the most out of Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph

New York Giants, Evan Engram
Sep 27, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88) gains yards after catch against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants’ offense is heavily reliant on the offensive line’s success next season, but with newly acquired weapons and the hopeful progression of Daniel Jones, they will drag themselves out of the bottom of the barrel in points per game.

Last year, they ranked 31st in points per game, with a below-average passing attack and average running game. Taking a significant step forward will not only help the offense but the defense as well, who were forced to pick up the load and supplement weaknesses in 2020.

The New York Giants have two TEs who can play a significant role moving forward:

Two players that will likely have a significant impact are tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Evan Engram. The Giants signed Rudolph to a two-year, $12 million deal this off-season, including a $4.5 million signing bonus and $4.5 million guaranteed. Despite suffering a foot injury last year that required surgery, the Giants still feel confident he will be ready for the start of the 2021 regular season.

Last year, Rudolph dominated in the middle of the field, collecting 20 receptions and zero drops. Alternatively, Engram was a liability in that same section, being connected to six interceptions and four drops. Despite making the Pro Bowl, Engram indicated he wants to forget all about his 2020 season, which is very telling of his performance and what he expects of himself.

However, the Giants and coordinator Jason Garrett can utilize these two players in vastly different ways to maximize their capabilities. Rudolph is a short-range receiver who can capitalize on high percentage throws in space. He operates primarily in the 0-10 yard range from the line of scrimmage, sitting down on hook routes, and operating in the flats (quick outs). Rudolph is also a stellar red zone threat, collecting 40 touchdown passes in that facet over the course of his career. He’s only one year removed from a six-touchdown performance, and at 6’6”, he is the Giants’ tallest receiver.

Engram, who should be used more as a jumbo slot option more, is best attacking the seams and vertical routes. The Giants gained the most from him on deep-outs, dig routes, seam exploitation, and spray fades in 2020.

If they can maximize both tight end’s strengths, they will have an offense that successfully operates in the middle of the field but also stretches the boundaries and seams, and that’s not even accounting for Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney, and Co. This will force defenses to play more cover-2 and take a defender out of the box. That will subsequently provide the running game with more room to work with and fewer blitzers for Daniel Jones to maneuver around.

Every hole the Giants fixed this off-season serves a purpose, and it all trickles down to a different portion of the offense, equalling an easier experience moving forward.

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