Teams usually know what they have in a fourth-year player, but New York Giants tight end Evan Engram flip-flops size in a polarizing way every single week. On the one hand, he is making incredible catches on spray fade routes and hauling in touchdowns, but on the other hand, he allows balls to hit him in the face or bounce off his hands and turn into interceptions.
This past week against the Cincinnati Bengals, Engram made a solid catch and was diving to the ground when Bengals defender Vonn Bell hit the ball out of his hands just before his elbows touched the turf. While this was a fantastic defensive play from the safety, Engram simply can’t find a way to hold onto the football without turning it over. He only has one fumble on the year, but he has been directly involved in seven turnovers this season, including six of Daniel Jones’ nine interceptions.
From an outside perspective, Engram is one of the most exciting and lethal offensive weapons in the NFL at the tight end position. He has incredible speed and ranks off the charts in athleticism but simply makes boneheaded plays far too often.
How has Evan Engram performed for the New York Giants this year?
So far this season, Engram has 44 catches for 476 yards and one score. He has caught 57.9% of his targets, the second-lowest since his rookie season when he dropped over eight balls.
Here’s a prime example of how polarizing the former Ole Miss stand out is, making two fantastic deep catches against Cincinnati but then fumbling and turning the momentum on its head.
Here are all of Evan Engram's big plays from the win over Cinci!
Do you think these catches make up for the fumble? I have to say those spray fade routes are PRETTY. pic.twitter.com/4HYppoJECO
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) November 30, 2020
Engram hauls in two fantastic fade routes on deep balls by Daniel Jones, showing off his ability to beat man coverage against cornerbacks. What I like most about these two plays is that he lines up in the slot as a receiver instead of off the line of scrimmage as a tight end.
In the next clip, you will see Engram slip at the point of attack, leading to an interception on a stick route. These are the types of mistakes that can’t be tolerated by receiver, especially one as talented as Evan.
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) September 20, 2020
This past week against the Bengals, Engram had a career game, logging 128 receiving yards, good for 14.33 yards per target. He played 96% of snaps, the second most of the season. Interestingly, he only played in 69% against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 10.
Evan Engram is confusing, man!
On one hand, he makes catches like this, and on the other, he drops easy receptions.
I'll take the 7! Great catch, either way. pic.twitter.com/I0sTiLQg9G
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) November 8, 2020
One category that Engram was struggling in to start the year was run blocking. His pass blocking has gotten significantly better as the season progressed, and his run blocking is above average now, taking a turn for the better after week eight against Tampa Bay.
He has been a focal point in the Giants’ run game, who have posted three consecutive games of 140+ yards pin the ground. The slender tight end is exerting extra effort to get downfield and help his running backs, which has translated to more success on offense.
When considering all of the mistakes he’s made and turnovers he’s caused, the Giants might’ve actually won several more games, but you can make the argument that being close in those contests, to begin with, was a big thanks to Engram and his play-making ability.
The Giants elected to retain him when teams called at the trade deadline, which instilled faith and confidence in his abilities. There is no question he can be one of the best players at his position in the NFL, and he has shown significant progress in run blocking.
Overall, I think his play at the moment justifies the mishaps he causes every now and then. However, at the beginning of the year, he was a detriment to the team and could not be trusted. He’s playing himself into a more prominent role, in my opinion.