Last night in Philadelphia, 32 players had their NFL dreams realized and became selections in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. Among the 32 was Ole Miss’ Evan Engram, as the former Rebel TE was drafted 23rd overall by the New York Giants.
Engram became the fourth 1st-round pick from the 2013 recruiting class after Laramey Tunsil, Laquon Treadwell and Robert Nkemdiche were all taken in the first round of last year’s draft.
Speaking of former Rebels, Engram will team up with a pretty notable one in New York. Rebel fans may remember a QB by the name of Eli Manning who has made quite a name for himself after leaving Ole Miss.
So where does Engram fit into the Giants’ offense? Everyone knows that Odell Beckham Jr. is Manning’s go-to guy and the addition of Brandon Marshall opposite is a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators, but a productive TE could be just what the Giants need after their group of TEs averaged the lowest yards per catch last season (7.7). Will Tye was the team’s leading TE a season ago with 45 catches and just one TD. At 262 pounds, Tye is a typical tight end, and that’s where Engram presents an upgrade. Analysts had hailed Engram as a hybrid WR/TE because of his ability to lineup up anywhere on the field.
“He’s a matchup nightmare,” NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said. “He can block on the perimeter. He’ll be an immediate impact player. His skill set is closer to Mike Evans. He runs routes like a wide receiver. I don’t care what you call him. Eli (Manning) is gonna say ‘Wow, I love this kid.’”
Head coach Ben McAdoo seemingly likes the fit and knows how important the tight end position can be to his offense.
“The fastest way to the end zone is down the middle of the field,” McAdoo said. “Any time you can add someone to your offense that can run down the middle of the field with that type of speed and length, it stresses the defense.”
A knock on Engram throughout the process has been his shortcomings in the running game as a blocker, something he wasn’t asked to do much of at Ole Miss.
“Engram isn’t known as much of a blocker. He’s more of a slot receiver from the tight end position. He’s not going to be much help to the league’s 29th-ranked rushing attack,” ESPN’s Jordan Raanan said.
Engram, who returned to Ole Miss for his senior season, told Big Blue View after the draft that he feels validated in his decision.
“I came back for my senior year, and that was one of my goals to solidify a first-round pick,” Engram said. “God has led me through all of this and to hear that tonight with the New York Giants, I knew that it was going to happen, I knew it should happen, and I’m blessed that it did.”
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.