While a large chunk of Big Blue fanatics have understandably grown to detest Evan Engram, there’s still plenty to like about the former first-rounder from an outside perspective. For starters, the 26-year-old is an athletic marvel in the prime of his career and fresh off the first 16-game slate of his NFL career. Furthermore, his 63 receptions and 654 receiving yards each ranked within the top three at his position in the NFC.
Despite these positives, Engram’s aptitude for drops — especially at crucial moments — has dampened optimism amongst the fanbase. On top of that, the team’s reworked receiving arsenal could further eat into his production in what will be a contract season for the Ole Miss product. With a plausible exit from East Rutherford looming in 2022, Bleacher Report’s Chris Rolling doesn’t see much reason to wait on the near-inevitable.
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Engram ‘Needs a Fresh Start’: Packers Labeled ‘Best Fit’
Rolling believes it’s time for Engram to seek a clean slate, claiming the Georgia native needs a “fresh start with a new team” — ideally, the Packers. Here’s the B/R columnist’s case:
Evan Engram has never been able to meet his lofty draft slot after the New York Giants made him the 23rd pick in 2017. But those Giants haven’t done him any favors, slapping him with the tail end of the Eli Manning era and then asking him to prop up developing passer Daniel Jones. Engram has never surpassed career highs of 722 yards and six touchdowns set as a rookie.
Not that Engram hasn’t worsened the situation for himself some. Last year over 109 targets, he had 11 drops and was credited with six interceptions on targets meant for him.
Still, Engram has loads of upside, especially in an offense that would move him around and create mismatches, particularly in the red zone. New York didn’t do that last year, instead using him as a traditional safety net.
Now Engram will have to compete with new tight end Kyle Rudolph (more in the mold of what the Giants want to do) and free-agent add Kenny Golladay for targets. He’d be quite a bit more interesting and successful in an offense willing to get creative with him such as the one in Green Bay.
Of course, you could make the argument that the Packers don’t exactly need a tight end. Robert Tonyan is coming off a breakout campaign where he established himself as one of the league’s better red-zone threats, hauling in 11 touchdowns (tied-fifth-most in NFL, regardless of position). Then again, the Packers have continuously undersupplied Rodgers with receiving weapons in recent years, and for all the negative Engram may bring to the table, he still remains a daunting mismatch for safeties, nickel backs and linebackers around the NFL.
Giants Remain High on Engram
As we’ve readily touched on, Engram didn’t make many friends in 2020. The merit of his Pro Bowl berth was widely questioned, while his costly drop against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 7 still makes New Yorkers’ blood boil to this day. Still, despite his flaws, there was at least one person who Engram did win over — frankly the only person who truly matters when it boils down to it.
“I’m telling you when you watch us practice and you watch No. 88 on the field, no one empties the tank like this guy,” head coach Joe Judge said of Engram during June OTAs. “This guy goes hard every day. We have to tell him to tone it down more than pick up his pace based on what kind of phase, practice room, walk-through, jog through, whatever you have at the time of year. Evan is always a guy that makes you say, ‘Hey Evan, tone it down a little bit.’ He works on the details, takes coaching well, he’s mentally tough and a physically tough dude and takes care of his body, ready to stay on the field.”
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