New York Giants tight end Evan Engram is a polarizing and somewhat controversial player. On one hand, he’s consistently listed with the tight ends that have the best chance to break out as receiving stars. This is the primary reason the Giants drafted him, but his career has been set back by injuries and bad drops when he is on the field.
He’s brought up in each year as a player that could be traded, but the front office continues to have faith by keeping him on the roster in a prominent role.
But would Engram have better performances if the Giants did pull the trigger and send him somewhere else? That appears to be what Sharp Football Analysis believes, as they’ve listed Engram with players that could improve in better circumstances.
At the core of it, part of the issue may be Daniel Jones just not being that great at the kinds of routes that Engram actively runs. His low percentage of passes further down the field doesn’t match up with the amount of routes run on the seams by Engram.
Engram only had three targets on deep crossers — one reception and two thrown late into tight coverage. A lack of targets deep down the field was a problem all across the Giants offense. Only 28.8% of Daniel Jones’s pass attempts traveled 10 or more yards past the line of scrimmage, which was the ninth-lowest rate among quarterbacks in 2020.
That disconnect was on display throughout the season. Engram was charted with the fourth-most routes run combined between seams and deep crossers according to Sports Info Solutions (71, behind Rob Gronkowksi, Mike Gesicki, and Hunter Henry), but there were only eight total targets with those routes rarely early in the progression.
What does this mean?
Some of this may be the fault of Daniel Jones but some of it may be the surrounding situation. The Giants haven’t had a good offensive line during the time Jones has been the starter, after all. Without much time to throw, it’s natural that Jones is going to have less passes further down the field. This, indirectly, hurts players like Engram that might depend on those routes.
The Giants offense was also criticized last season for not being very creative and relying on the same routes regardless of success. This season, Jason Garrett may not have the luxury of falling into complacency – his job is on the line after a first showing that didn’t impress anyone.
But even if it’s possible to turn things around, it does undeniably look like Engram would be better in a better offense if things are judged based on the situation right now. That is, if he can get over his problem of dropping the ball in big moments.
Will the Giants actually make a deal this season and move Engram before the deadline? Many will likely speculate on it, but at this point, Engram’s trade value probably isn’t as high as it was in the past. And with how much the Giants have held out hope so far for his improvement, it seems unlikely they’ll move on now and likely receive less in return in a trade.