It was no surprise when the New York Giants picked up the fifth-year option of tight end Evan Engram, considering the value he brings to the offense when completely healthy.
The Giants currently have Engram, Levine Toilolo, and Kaden Smith as their primary tight ends. Engram played in just eight games in 2019, recording a career-low 467 yards and three touchdowns. He also saw a regression in catch rate at 64.7%. If he can remain healthy, Engram can be one of the better-receiving tights ends in the NFL, considering his rookie season where he played in just 72% of offensive snaps and posted 722 yards and six scores.
The ability he brings to the team is incredible, but having a solidified back up, and secondary tight end that can also feature in 12 personnel is essential. Kaden Smith is a potential key to the offense in 2020.
In his rookie campaign with the Giants, Smith posted 268 yards and three touchdowns on just 41% of snaps. With an increased work rate, Smith has the potential to develop significantly moving forward.
Smith does have some deficiencies he needs to improve upon, as he fumbled twice in 2019, recovering both of them. Holding onto the ball and working on his route running are two factors that will need reinforcement.
With former Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens taking over the tight end unit, Smith will have a fantastic coach to help him develop his skill set. At just 23 years old this year, Smith is not only a young athlete, but he’s also extremely intelligent coming out of Stanford. I fully expect Smith to develop into a key piece for the Giants moving forward, and if he can strengthen his run blocking, he will be a primary security blanket for Daniel Jones in the passing game and a catalyst for Saquon Barkley in the running game.