The New York Giants are set to have one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses in 2019. Saquon Barkley is entering his second season. Barkley won AP Offensive Rookie of the Year and already looks like the best running back in the NFL. But Saquon is not the Giants’ only playmaker.
The Giants have a talented receiving corps to go along with their solid ground game. Golden Tate is known as the YAC King and looks to be a dependable receiver for Eli Manning. New York also extended Sterling Shepard this offseason. This receiving duo could be one of the league’s best.
Often lost in the discussion is the Giants’ tight end position. It is easy to discuss Saquon and his 2,028 scrimmage yards as a rookie, but it is also easy to forget that the Giants had a rookie haul in 64 passes for 722 yards and 6 touchdowns just two years ago.
Why Evan Engram Will Improve In 2019:
Evan Engram showed improvement in 2018, despite posting less impressive statistics. Evan missed time due to injury, but in the games he played, Engram caught 70.3% of the passes thrown his way. This is a major improvement over his poor 2017 catch rate of 55.7%. Engram dropped 11 passes as a rookie.
Evan Engram improved big time from Year 1 to Year 2 last season pic.twitter.com/Xr2igoDkuj
— PFF (@PFF) March 9, 2019
An even more positive note is Engram’s production towards the end of the season. In the final four games of the 2018 season, the Giants were without their star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. During this four-game stretch, Evan Engram improved tremendously.
What Makes Evan Engram A Special Player?
Evan Engram is as versatile as can be. He is a receiver playing in a tight end’s body. Engram stands tall at 6 feet 3 inches and fills out his frame nicely, weighing in at 234 pounds. But this tight end body does not move at tight end speed. Evan Engram ran a blazing fast 4.42 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine.
Former NFL analyst and current Oakland Raiders GM Mike Mayock described Evan Engram as a “matchup nightmare.” He also added that Engram “runs routes like a wide receiver” and has a skill set “closer to Mike Evans.”
This level of versatility has been on display throughout the first two years of Evan Engram’s career. The Giants have used Engram in a variety of ways in the passing and rushing game. Check out Engram taking a handoff and using his elite speed to gain a first down:
Let’s get to some more fun clips of Evan Engram shall we? Nice little end around here and Engram almost scored. This shows off his speed well and I hope they use this type of play more this year. pic.twitter.com/nqfbmYy24I
— Danny King (@DannyKingNFL) June 21, 2019
This end-around was in week 15 of the 2018 season. Evan was spectacular that game, catching all 6 of his targets for 87 yards and rushing for 26 yards on only 2 carries. He followed up this performance with an impressive outing in week 16 versus the Cowboys.
Engram’s athletic ability was on display again in this game. He caught 5 passes for 81 yards and also scored a touchdown on this incredible play where Engram fully extended and lunged across the goal line:
First a TD by Engram then a 2 point conversion? Great two play sequence for him. In the first play he went from the blocker to the receiver. Also great effort to extend over the line. On the 2 point try, Sean Lee stood no chance in defending him. As I said great 2 play Sequence pic.twitter.com/r2pXi7HiDR
— Danny King (@DannyKingNFL) June 21, 2019
This solid performance capped off a rocky season by Evan Engram. He saw a decrease in every receiving statistic. After an excellent rookie season, Evan played in only 11 games (started 8) his sophomore year and posted only 45 receptions, 577 yards, and 3 touchdowns.
What Evan Engram Needs To Improve On:
The main area of concern with Evan Engram is health. Evan has missed 6 games in his first 2 seasons. He was only able to start in 8 games in 2018 due to a string of injuries. In order to take his game to the next level in 2019, Evan Engram needs to remain healthy.
Evan Engram also leaves a little to be desired as a run-blocker. He improved a bit in his sophomore year, but he was one of the worst run-blocking tight ends in the NFL in 2017. He posted the fifth-worst Pro Football Focus run-blocking grade of all tight ends in 2017 at 48.7.
Evan Engram is an athletic specimen. If Evan Engram can stay healthy and improve his blocking in 2019, he could turn himself into one of the best tight ends in the NFL. His athletic ability and versatility makes Evan Engram a lethal weapon for the Giants’ offense.