If there’s any single player that will benefit from the departure of Odell Beckham Jr., it’s New York Giants pass-catching tight end Evan Engram. The third-year player is primed for a breakout season, considering he will be a more prominent piece in the passing game.
In 2017, Engram recorded 722 yards and six scores after Beckham broke his ankle against the San Diego Chargers. The undersized tight end showed where his value resided, giving the Giants an opportunity to extract his potential. While his blocking abilities aren’t as strong as Scott Simonson or Rhett Ellison’s, he is the most deadly with the ball in his hands.
Why trading Odell Beckham Jr. is good for Evan Engram:
When Beckham was on the field, nearly every player saw their totals drop significantly, as he rightfully attracted a lot of attention. The ball needed to be in his hands, or so most thought.
To put things into perspective, Engram averaged a mere 36.7 yards per game receiving when Beckham was on the field. In the final four games where the star receiver was injured, he averaged an astounding 80 yards per game – more than double. His yards per reception with OBJ present was 13.58, and without, 16.43.
Everything about Engram’s game was elevated the second the offense was opened up to the bigger picture. When utilizing the tight end effectively, the Giants put up a massive amount of points. In week 14, Big Blue had their most productive game – scoring 40 points without Beckham as they utilized Engram on three catches for 77 yards. Additionally, Saquon Barkley ran for 170 yards and a score on just 14 carries.
While I’m not trying to take away anything from OBJ, as he’s an incredibly influential player, we shouldn’t be worried about the efficiency of the offense. With an upgraded offensive line, the entire unit should be more productive.
Head coach Pat Shurmur commented on Engram’s impact in 2018:
“He had production when he was in there, but then he got hurt a few times,” Shurmur said at the NFL Annual Meeting. “By the end he was feeling good, running well and playing well. That is a function of Evan doing his thing.”
When factoring out Engram’s usefulness as a receiver, he becomes an average tight end at best. The knock on him is his blocking, but Shurmur is convinced that he’s not as bad as most think.
“I think he can block better than you do,” Shurmur told skeptics. “I think his whole game improved when he became healthy. He is a willing blocker.”
I do agree that Evan is a far better player when healthy, an easy assumption to make. He’s more than capable of playing at a high level, but eliminating dropped balls and further developing his ability to block will be a priority moving forward.