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.