Evan Engram is more vital to NY Giants’ success now more than ever

Evan Engram #88 (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Evan Engram #88 (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

After a shaky Week 1 performance, Evan Engram improved in Week 2 and is now more vital to the NY Giants’ success more than ever.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a player that NY Giants’ fans are more down on at the moment than fourth-year tight end Evan Engram. After being selected at Jerry Reese’s final first-round draft pick in 2017, Engram has had an up-and-down career with Big Blue that has been mired with injuries.

2020 is a pivotal year for Engram in terms of his future with the NY Giants, and after a horrific Week 1 outing that may have been the worst game of his Big Blue career, he bounced back nicely in Week Two, reeling in 6 balls for 65 yards including a crucial 22-yard reception on 3rd-and-10 with under two minutes to go as Daniel Jones looked to lead the NY Giants on a heroic comeback drive that came up just short.

Still, on the season Engram has hauled in just 8 passes on 15 targets (53%) and has just a 27.7 QB rating when targeting — far from the numbers the organization was expecting in his fourth year.

During his injury-riddled 2019 season, it was very much up in the air whether or not the NY Giants would be picking up Engram’s fifth-year option that calls for him to make a little over $6M.

When Engram is healthy he still has put up per-game averages that put him up there with the elite tight ends in the NFL, so the NY Giants made the wise decision to pick up that fifth-year option this past May as if he can stay healthy it will be a bargain.

Not to mention, Big Blue can pull that option back at any time as it is guaranteed for injury only so there isn’t much risk involved.

NY Giants need Evan Engram to step up now more than ever

With Sterling Shepard out for the foreseeable future with turf toe and Saquon Barkley out for the season with a torn ACL, the NY Giants need Evan Engram to finally realize his potential now more than ever.

Darius Slayton and Golden Tate are solid wideouts but they aren’t going to be enough to elevate the NY Giants’ offense out of the 32nd-ranked position they currently find themselves in.

For the G-Men offense to succeed, Evan Engram is going to have to return to his rookie year form that saw him rack up 64 catches for 722 yards and 6 TD’s over 11 starts,

Even over the last two years where he has struggled, Engram still had passer ratings of 113.9 and 99.3 when targeted — there’s no reason he can’t get back to those numbers in short order, especially with all the extra targets that are now due to go around.

The major issue surrounding the former Ole Miss star outside of his 2 drops has been his blocking. However, I’ve watched the film over and over again from his first few seasons and the concerns around his blocking were very overblown in my opinion.

He’s always been a willing blocking and is surely athletic enough to be able to stick with most of the pass rushers in this league. Some of the top-end guys give him trouble should he be asked to block them 1-1, but you could say that about every other tight end in the league outside of possibly George Kittle.

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will have to earn his money in figuring out a way to mitigate Engram’s recent blocking struggles while at the same time finding a way to keep him on the field in advantageous situations.

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At 6’4”, 260 pounds with 4.42 speed Evan Engram is a matchup nightmare for just about any defender he could possibly line-up against in 1-1 coverage — it’s going to be Jason Garrett’s job to find ways to isolate him in single coverage and exploit those mismatches.

Should Engram finally break out, this NY Giants offense could find a way to be solid despite their recent spat of injuries.