Evan Engram is coming off a rookie year where he not only produced for the New York Giants, but he lived up to some very lofty expectations.
A first-round pick of the Giants a year ago, Engram finished his rookie year with 64 catches for 722 yards and six touchdowns. The former Ole Miss tight end transitioned well to the NFL, showing himself to be a reliable target over the middle and a player who could stretch defenses. He lived up to the hype of being an impact player in the making for the Giants.
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There was plenty to like about Engram’s rookie year, even as he had some stretches with bad drops and struggled with his in-line blocking.
He said on Wednesday that he spent a lot of time this offseason watching film so as to improve on his rookie year.
“Yeah, I watched a lot. It was kind of crazy, just from Game 1 – and through Game 1, I can definitely tell where my head was spinning at certain times. I can tell where I looked sloppy or didn’t really look under control a lot of plays,” Engram said.
“But as the year went on, I just started seeing things progress. I remember progressing but definitely watched a lot. Doing things that I learned in the offseason and going back seeing how I can apply them in certain situations that I was in last year. I watched pretty much the whole season through – a couple games more than once. Definitely went back and watched a lot – just to kind of put in perspective of where I was and kind of test myself on when to use some of the new things I know now in some situations I was in last year.”
The good news for the Giants is that Engram should be surrounded by a better cast of playmakers after the Giants saw injuries to their wide receivers at an alarming rate a year ago. With a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard emerging as a star in his third year in the league, Engram should have plenty of opportunities to see the ball this year as defenses key in on the Giants receivers. In addition, the threat posed by running back Saquon Barkley, the team’s first-round pick will also help open up things as opponents will have to respect the Giants ability to run the ball.
Engram said that the offense being installed by new head coach Pat Shurmur will also help his development.
“I think it just moving around a lot more. Last year when we had the injuries, my role kind of increased. I was in a lot of different spots on the field. Just systematically, the tight end can be anywhere on the field,” Engram said. “It’s no structure to where the tight end can line up – or anybody can line up. It’s just a fast-paced offense that requires a lot from the tight end, don’t get me wrong. Just split out a lot more – I can be in-line, I can decide whether I want to stand up or do three-point [stance]. Just a little bit more freedom. But systematically, the tight end is a big position in this offense, and it has a lot of responsibility.”