New York Giants: Evan Engram would be a superstar in the Chiefs offense?

Evan Engram remains one of the biggest questions in the New York Giants offense. The Giants drafted him primarily as a pass catcher, but he’s picked up a polarizing reputation for dropped passes, inconsistent appearances due to injuries, and accusations of slacking off at times. However, the Giants obviously still believe in his potential judging from how the team has kept him around rather than trading him when his value was higher.

ESPN is also a believer in Engram, ranking him in their list of top 10 tight ends that was determined by NFL executives, coaches, and evaluators. Engram came in at number eight on this list, above Jonnu Smith and the divisional rival Eagles’ Zach Ertz.

What did these professionals have to say about Engram? Interestingly, their thoughts indicate that the Giants might be misusing his talents.

8. Evan Engram, New York Giants

Highest ranking: 5 | Lowest ranking: Unranked
Age: 26 | Last year’s ranking: 7

NFL evaluators are still bullish on Engram’s impressive skill set despite a tough 2020 campaign.

He ranked last among tight ends on this list in several categories — drops (eight), receptions above expected (-10.9) and receptions per target (57.3). But his 4.42 40-yard dash speed and his route-running ability are hard to ignore. His open-field cuts and releases at the line of scrimmage are wide receiver-level.

“He’s the guy you can do the most with in the passing game,” an AFC scout said. “He’s the guy the coordinators would want the most. He’s underachieving and something is off, because he should be putting up big numbers with that ability.”

And the Giants hope defenses focus less on Engram now that the offense got reinforcements this offseason — Kenny Golladay and Rudolph in free agency, along with Kadarius Toney through the draft.

An NFC offensive coach added: “If he were in the Chiefs’ offense, he’d be a superstar.”

It’s clear that Engram isn’t performing to his max potential with the Giants but it’s unclear whether that’s more his fault or the fault of the team. The offense, after all, is limited by the players it has. That includes the offensive line which is responsible for protecting the quarterback, as well as quarterback Daniel Jones himself.

While some of Engram’s problems, such as dropped passes, are largely on himself, some of his underperformance may stem from the passes being thrown to him or from Jones not having enough time to find him as an open target.

Still, the fact that the rest of the roster isn’t perfect doesn’t completely excuse lacking performance from Engram. If the Giants can’t get the best out of the player with the personnel they have, they may still want to consider a trade if they get a good value.

After all, according to one NFC coach, Engram could potentially be a superstar in an offense like the one belonging to Kansas City – and because of that, his trade value may be higher than his numbers suggest.

New York Giants: Why Evan Engram will bounce back in 2021

New York Giants, Giants, Evan Engram

Entering the 2020 NFL season, PFF had New York Giants tight end Evan Engram ranked as the twelfth-best tight end in the NFL. This ranking set some high expectations for Engram that the Giants’ pass-catcher ultimately failed to reach. Engram was selected to the first Pro Bowl of his career in 2020, however, this was a season filled with dropped passes and year-long struggles for the fourth-year tight end.

Evan Engram dropped 11 passes this season, a statistic that overshadowed any highlights that the tight end put together. Six of the eleven interceptions thrown by Giants quarterbacks came on plays targeting Engram. At times, it felt like Evan Engram was a bad-play magnet. However, there were some games where Engram reminded fans why he was once a first-round draft pick.

Engram is good, just misused

For example, Evan Engram posted a single-game career-high 129 receiving yards versus the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12. Engram hauled in six receptions in this game, including two receptions of 40+ yards.

This game demonstrated that Engram is best used as a deep-receiving weapon. When going vertical, Evan Engram can be a true playmaker. He and Daniel Jones connected on a few deep bombs this year, like the wheel route down the right sideline against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Unfortunately, the Giants did not have Evan Engram running vertical routes that freqeuently in 2020. In Jason Garrett’s offensive scheme, the tight end’s main job was to be a reliable pass-catcher underneath, mainly in the 0-10 yard range, center of the field.

69 of Evan Engram’s 109 targets came between 0-10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Only six of his targets were on passes 20+ yards downfield (PFF). Evan Engram is one of the fastest tight ends in the NFL. It is malpractice for him to be used purely on hook routes five yards from the line of scrimmage. Let Engram put that 4.42s 40-yard dash to work and get downfield.

This upcoming season, Evan Engram’s role should change significantly. The addition of Kyle Rudolph will allow the Giants to use Evan Engram as more of a vertical receiving threat while Rudolph plays the role Jason Garrett placed Engram into in 2020.

Kyle Rudolph underneath

Kyle Rudolph has not dropped a pass in the last two years and is incredible at making contested catches. Rudolph’s contested catch rate since 2016 is 51.9%. Compare this to Evan Engram’s career contested-catch rate of 32.1%, and it’s easy to understand why Kyle Rudolph could be one of the Giants’ most valuable offensive weapons.

Kyle Rudolph is a perfect fit for the Giants’ offense. He is a reliable tight end that can catch the ball underneath while Evan Engram gets open downfield. These two will complement each other perfectly as Evan Engram has a bounce-back season in 2021.

New York Giants: Evan Engram named as player that would improve elsewhere

New York Giants, Evan Engram

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.

How the New York Giants can get the most out of Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph

New York Giants, Evan Engram

The New York Giants’ offense is heavily reliant on the offensive line’s success next season, but with newly acquired weapons and the hopeful progression of Daniel Jones, they will drag themselves out of the bottom of the barrel in points per game.

Last year, they ranked 31st in points per game, with a below-average passing attack and average running game. Taking a significant step forward will not only help the offense but the defense as well, who were forced to pick up the load and supplement weaknesses in 2020.

The New York Giants have two TEs who can play a significant role moving forward:

Two players that will likely have a significant impact are tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Evan Engram. The Giants signed Rudolph to a two-year, $12 million deal this off-season, including a $4.5 million signing bonus and $4.5 million guaranteed. Despite suffering a foot injury last year that required surgery, the Giants still feel confident he will be ready for the start of the 2021 regular season.

Last year, Rudolph dominated in the middle of the field, collecting 20 receptions and zero drops. Alternatively, Engram was a liability in that same section, being connected to six interceptions and four drops. Despite making the Pro Bowl, Engram indicated he wants to forget all about his 2020 season, which is very telling of his performance and what he expects of himself.

However, the Giants and coordinator Jason Garrett can utilize these two players in vastly different ways to maximize their capabilities. Rudolph is a short-range receiver who can capitalize on high percentage throws in space. He operates primarily in the 0-10 yard range from the line of scrimmage, sitting down on hook routes, and operating in the flats (quick outs). Rudolph is also a stellar red zone threat, collecting 40 touchdown passes in that facet over the course of his career. He’s only one year removed from a six-touchdown performance, and at 6’6”, he is the Giants’ tallest receiver.

Engram, who should be used more as a jumbo slot option more, is best attacking the seams and vertical routes. The Giants gained the most from him on deep-outs, dig routes, seam exploitation, and spray fades in 2020.

If they can maximize both tight end’s strengths, they will have an offense that successfully operates in the middle of the field but also stretches the boundaries and seams, and that’s not even accounting for Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney, and Co. This will force defenses to play more cover-2 and take a defender out of the box. That will subsequently provide the running game with more room to work with and fewer blitzers for Daniel Jones to maneuver around.

Every hole the Giants fixed this off-season serves a purpose, and it all trickles down to a different portion of the offense, equalling an easier experience moving forward.

New York Giants: Evan Engram would throw away Pro Bowl season for future improvement

New York Giants, Evan Engram

Evan Engram is one of the most polarizing players on the New York Giants not named Daniel Jones. He’s a name that gets mentioned in trade rumors every year at this point, but the Giants organization has shown a fair amount of loyalty to him and has kept up faith over the last couple of years that Engram’s value on their team is higher than whatever they can get on the market for him.

Engram does indeed have potential, and did in fact make the Pro Bowl during a 2020 season when the Giants didn’t have too many individual overachievers. But his play has often left fans wanting for more. He might have caught enough passes to make the Pro Bowl, but he also had crucial drops that kept him from making major gains in fan sentiment.

If there’s one thing Evan Engram has going for him, though, it’s that he’s relatively honest. He’s not the kind of player to gloss over his mistakes. And even if some are tired of hearing from him now as he continues to suffer from the same problems across multiple seasons, it’s better than hearing excuses.

What did Engram have to say?

Engram has said that his Pro Bowl season contained both good and bad but that he wants to throw the year away and focus on the future. He also pointed out ball security in specific as an area of need, which makes sense considering his reputation for drops.

At this point it’s rather clear what the main problems in Engram’s game are. The only thing left up in the air is whether or not those problems will be resolved anytime soon or not. While Engram has talked a lot about improvement only to suffer from the same problems since coming into the league, his honesty shows that he’s aware of what he needs to work on.

The Giants have fortunately signed another pass catching tight end this season in Kyle Rudolph. As the more veteran player, it looks like Rudolph might have a teaching role for the younger tight ends on the team rather than just an on the field role.

We know that Rudolph has a reputation for not dropping the ball. Will that rub off on Engram during the 2021 season now that they’re teammates? We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s hard to imagine the Giants weren’t thinking about Engram when they made the signing.

New York Giants: How Kyle Rudolph is going to help Evan Engram realize his potential

New York Giants, Evan Engram

When the New York Giants signed tight end Kyle Rudolph, they envisioned one primary factor he would bring to the team — the ability to catch the football efficiently in the middle of the field.

Rudolph is proficient in dominating short-yardage situations and collecting footballs adequately in the 10-yard range from the line of scrimmage. Interestingly, this is also where Evan Engram struggles the most, having been connected to six interceptions in 2020 and struggling with drops.

In 2019, Rudolph caught 28 passes on 30 targets, four 237 yards, and three touchdowns. He offers a big 6’6″ red zone threat for quarterback Daniel Jones and a competent pass catcher. Last season, Evan Engram dropped eight passes, representing 11.3% of his targets, per PFF. That is an unacceptable number, which hurt the Giants’ offense significantly, contributing toward missing out on a postseason appearance.

However, the signing of Rudolph should bolster the offense considerably, providing them with a consistent threat in the middle of the field and allowing Engram to capitalize on his strengths while leaving his weaknesses behind.

Historically, coordinator Jason Garrett utilizes a big body TE as a security blanket for his quarterback, and that is what Rudolph represents for Daniel Jones. Engram was always a more superior athlete with the ability to push the field vertically and utilizes above-average route running to take advantage of mismatches.

The New York Giants like to get creative with Evan Engram:

In 2020, Engram’s alignments varied, spending 450 total snaps inline, 284 in the slot, and 99 out wide. The Giants should continue to get creative and versatile with Evan; he can be used as a jumbo tight end in the slot and also spread out wide against smaller corners. At 6’3″ and 240 pounds, he can attack cornerbacks and smaller DBs, but also forcing middle linebackers to cover him up the seams, which is always advantageous.

In 12 personnel, which would dictate two tight ends, the Giants can draw attention to the middle of the field with Rudolph while simultaneously pressuring the vertical routes with Engram. That is not even mentioning the additions of Kenney Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and the existence of Sterling Shepard.

With so many downfield options and short-area receivers, Daniel Jones will have plenty of weapons to utilize on offense, but Engram could see his potential realized in his fifth year as the Giants picked up the option in his rookie contract last season.

The reality is simple, if Engram can alleviate his drop issues and hold onto the football, he would easily be a top-five receiving tight end in the NFL.

New York Giants: Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph complement each other perfectly

New York Giants, Evan Engram

The New York Giants spent a lot of resources on their offense this offseason. New York made two big splashes in free agency on the offensive side of the ball and also made some quality depth signings. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay and tight end Kyle Rudolph were the big-name weapons that joined the Giants in March. The Giants also signed John Ross III and Devontae Booker as quality backups.

New York then doubled down on its promise to give Daniel Jones weapons in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. With the 20th overall pick in the draft, the Giants selected wide receiver Kadarius Toney.

The Giants now feel confident that Daniel Jones has the tools at his disposal to create a successful 2021 season. In 2020, New York had a clear lack of talent on offense, averaging only 17.5 points per game. One of the team’s best receiving threats, Evan Engram, struggled tremendously in 2020, dropping 11 passes on the season.

In 2021, Engram could bounce back as the Giants take some pressure off of him in the receiving game. They added a bunch of new weapons to the offense and created good depth at the tight end position heading into 2021.

Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph complement each other perfectly

The good, bad, and ugly of Evan Engram

Evan Engram will return this year as the New York Giants’ starting tight end. However, he will likely share much of his playing time with the newly-signed veteran Kyle Rudolph. Engram and Rudolph’s playing styles complement each other perfectly.

Much has been made of Evan Engram’s drops and struggles in 2020. But many forget that he is still a quality tight end and one of the most athletic and dynamic players at this position in the NFL. Not many tight ends in the NFL can fly through a 40-yard dash at 4.42 seconds. He has true wide receiver speed and elite route running for a tight end. Engram’s release package helped him frequently separate vertically for big gains downfield last season.

Engram’s struggles came when the Giants forced him to sit down in the middle of the field between 0-10 yards from the line of scrimmage. All six of the interceptions thrown while targeting Evan Engram came in that range, as did four of his drops.

The Giants misused Evan Engram in 2020. He played the “Jason Witten role” in Jason Garrett’s offense, rather than the “Blake Jarwin role.” Engram is meant to get vertical and use his precise route running to create separation. But too frequently Garrett used him as an underneath contested-catch option. In 2021, expect to see Kyle Rudolph take over that role while Evan Engram gets used in a more versatile fashion.

Mr. Reliable, Kevin Rudolph

Evan Engram’s inconsistency became too much for Giants fans to bear last season. So the Giants went out and got the most reliable tight end in football to make up for that.

Kyle Rudolph has not dropped a pass in the last two years and is incredible at making contested catches. Rudolph’s contested catch rate since 2016 is 51.9%. Compare this to Evan Engram’s career contested-catch rate of 32.1%, and it’s easy to understand why Kyle Rudolph could be one of the Giants’ most valuable offensive weapons.

Kyle Rudolph also provides the Giants with an elite red zone presence. Of Kyle Rudolph’s 48 career touchdown receptions, 40 of them — 83.3 percent — have come in the red zone (Paul Schwartz of the NY Post).

In 2021, expect to see Kyle Rudolph take over Evan Engram’s role last season as the reliable underneath option in the Giants’ offense. Evan Engram will likely complement that by lining up out wide and in the slot more often so he can utilize his speed and separation-ability to make big gains downfield. These two tight ends will work in tandem to make the New York Giants’ offense a more efficient unit next season.

New York Giants: Evan Engram and teammates to attend Travis Kelce’s TE camp

New York Giants, Evan Engram

The New York Giants will have an interesting group at tight end this season. Not only did they add Kyle Rudolph during the offseason, but their number one player at the position remains the controversial Evan Engram.

Engram was drafted for one reason, to catch passes – but the tight end has picked up a polarizing reputation due to long injuries and key drops in big moments. Going into the 2021 season, though, it looks like we can expect an effort from Engram to improve his skills.

That includes attending a brand new camp held by current Chief Travis Kelce and retired TE Greg Olsen.

While Engram was initially reported as attending the camp with teammate Kaden Smith, the camp’s official Twitter account later confirmed that Kyle Rudolph will also be present.

The camp so far has many other participants from around the league and aims to help the NFL’s tight ends improve their skills. It seems that the event is set to take place this summer, specifically in June. If it’s a success, we’ll likely see it become an annual happening.

Many fans will say that Engram needs to work on his catching – that aspect of his game has been a consistent problem for him since coming into the league, and even cost the Giants a game sealing first down against the Eagles last season in a matchup they would eventually lose.

But with some of the most prominent pass catching tight ends in the league there, there’s a good chance Engram and the other two Giants come out having learned something.

New York Giants revamped their offense with sure-handed receivers in 2021

New York Giants, Kenny Golladay

The New York Giants had one of the worst offenses in the NFL in 2020. The Giants averaged a putrid 17.5 points per game this past season. New York lacked playmakers on offense once superstar running back Saquon Barkley went down for the season in Week 2.

In the passing game, the Giants severely lacked dependable weapons to haul in passes from Daniel Jones. In a pivotal sophomore season, Daniel Jones had 23 of his passes dropped in 2020. The Giants’ wide receivers were inconsistent and undependable. New York made it a point of emphasis to fix that in the 2021 offseason.

The Giants’ new dependable wide receiver corps

According to Pro Football Focus, the Giants had the second-highest rate of dropped passes last season. Tight end Evan Engram receives a lot of criticism for dropping 11 passes in 2020. However, he was not the only receiver that struggled to hold onto the football last season. Darius Slayton also dropped 6 passes. The Giants’ receivers also struggled to separate last season.

Golden Tate averaged only 2.1 yards of separation in 2020 (tied-fourth worst in the league). Darius Slayton’s separation at a 2.9-yard average was not much better. The Giants recognized a clear need to upgrade Daniel Jones’s offensive weapons and seized the opportunity to do so in the 2021 offseason.

The New York Giants made a splash in free agency this offseason when they landed the market’s top wide receiver, Kenny Golladay. The Giants landed a receiver that is as dependable as they come. Kenny Golladay has the second-highest contested catch rate in the NFL since 2018 (PFF). Daniel Jones now has his big-body “go up and get it” outside receiver with Kenny G.

With their first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Giants got another sure-handed receiver. Kadarius Toney had only 3 career drops on 123 catchable passes during his time at the University of Florida (PFF). Toney fills a huge YAC need for the Giants, but also brings some dependability to the offense, too.

The Giants’ third big receiving acquisition this offseason was tight end Kyle Rudolph. Evan Engram struggled to hold onto the ball as New York’s starting tight end in 2020, so the Giants went out and got the most sure-handed and dependable tight end in football to help him out. Kyle Rudolph has recorded zero drops on 90 targets the past two seasons (PFF).

The New York Giants now have consistency and dependability on offense. Daniel Jones will enjoy throwing to sure-handed receivers as he attempts to establish himself as a franchise quarterback in his third season.

New York Giants: Kyle Rudolph bringing much-needed dependability to the offense

new york giants, kyle rudolph

The New York Giants went into this offseason with a clear mission: upgrade the playmakers around quarterback Daniel Jones. New York was successful. They added two new primary wide receivers, Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney. They also added quality depth at the receiver position with John Ross III. But another underrated move that the Giants made was adding a dependable, consistent tight end to the roster in Kyle Rudolph.

What Kyle Rudolph will bring to the Giants

Kyle Rudolph might not be the flashiest offseason move that the Giants made this offseason, but he is still one of the best. No, he was not the top receiver on the free-agent market (Kenny Golladay) or the most explosive receiver in the NFL Draft (Kadarius Toney), though the Giants added both of those playmakers to their roster, too.

Rather, Kyle Rudolph was the most dependable tight end on the free-agent market. Dependability is something this Giants’ offense desperately needed. In 2020, the Giants did not have a reliable or consistent group of playmakers around Daniel Jones. The Giants went all-in on Danny Dimes this offseason, supplying him with as much talent as possible to share the ball with in his third year.

While the Giants added a slew of explosive playmakers to the offense, they also made the wise move of adding a less explosive but more dependable option in Kyle Rudolph. With a career catch rate of 68.1%, the ten-year veteran was always a consistent option for the Minnesota Vikings. Rudolph’s catch rate topped 75% in each of his last three seasons.

Last year, Evan Engram was at the center of a slew of turnovers. He dropped 11 passes on 109 targets in 2020 and was targeted on 6 interceptions. Engram also lost a fumble and mishandled an end-around pitch from Daniel Jones that resulted in a turnover (Jones was credited with the fumble, though). Engram still brought explosion and play-making ability to the tight end position with 654 receiving yards, 29 first downs, and a long reception of 53 yards. However, Evan Engram was also the most inconsistent and unreliable receiver on the Giants last season.

From 2018 to 2020, Kyle Rudolph dropped 1 pass on 167 targets. This kind of reliability underneath will be huge for the Giants’ offense in 2021. Daniel Jones had 23 passes dropped in 2020. Getting Jones a tight end he can depend on to consistently haul in underneath passes was an exceptional move by the Giants in this offseason period.