New York Giants rookie tight end Evan Engram continues to impress both his new teammates and the coaching staff.
He continues to build his chemistry with quarterback Eli Manning, showing off his pass catching ability and elusiveness. During Friday’s final practice session of the team’s organized team activities (OTAs), he made the kind of play that justifies his draft position.
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Engram ran down the field near the left hash blanket by linebacker Jonathan Casillas. He jumped up and caught the pass right over Casillas’ head.
“He creates separation and he has great hands,” Casillas said.
Long snapper Zak DeOssie raved about Engram early on in OTAs after making a similar play. Head coach Ben McAdoo is clearly pleased about what he’s seen thus far from the Ole Miss product.
“I think, again, we are excited about the young man,” McAdoo said. “He has a tremendous skill set to do a lot of different things for you. He shows that he is willing as a blocker. Now we have to get some pads on him and get his fundamentals right there. He is a conscientious young man; he works hard at football and seems to enjoy it.”
Engram has definitely impressed during OTAs but admits that his transition to the NFL hasn’t been without challenges.
“Sometimes, I got a blank stare on my face if I don’t know what’s going on,” Engram said. “They’re right there to help me out and pick me so those guys (his teammates) are great.”
Going into the team’s mandatory three-day mini-camp, Engram doesn’t ignore the criticism about the one flaw in his game.
“I guess that’s what people will call a downfall to my game,” Engram said of his blocking ability. “I’m more than willing to show my worth in that aspect and become great in that aspect of the game.”
Giants tight ends coach Kevin M. Gilbride praised Engram on his coachability.
“He shows very much willingness to block and to finish and strain the way we’re asking our guys to strain,” Gilbride said. “Again, that’s not pads so that’ll change things to a certain extent, but I don’t see him backing down. He has a toughness and a willingness to go against anyone on our defense and I’m hoping that remains through the course of this season.”
Engram’s pass catching ability is what got him to the NFL. If he can become a competent blocker, it would be a tremendous benefit to the Giants.
“It’s important to him,” Gilbride said of Engram’s willingness and desire to become a better blocker.
The Giants’ tight ends accounted for only three touchdowns in 2016 and ranked dead last in the league in yards per catch as a unit. Engram could help lift that average as he presents a potential nightmare for linebackers and safeties trying to cover him.
He has a chance to blossom in an offense that has a two-time Super Bowl MVP in Manning, a receiving corps featuring Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Brandon Marshall, and a backfield with the bruising Paul Perkins and versatile pass catcher Shane Vereen.