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Fact or Fiction: Predictions for Evan Engram

Posted Jun 9, 2017

Giants writers debate Big Blue topics in Fact or Fiction:

Evan Engram will lead all rookies in snaps this season.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -  I’m going to with Dalvin Tomlinson here. The Giants have a lot of tight ends, and I imagine with the different formations they will be able to run this year, Engram won’t play the large majority of offensive snaps. He will be heavily involved, especially in passing situations, but I think Tomlinson will play a high percentage of defensive snaps. If I had to guess, I think Tomlinson will be the starter at defensive tackle and get a lot of action there during the season.

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DAN SALOMONE: Fact - Last season, the leading tight end (Will Tye) played 64.1 percent of offensive snaps, and the leading defensive tackle (Johnathan Hankins) played 68.9 percent. So that gives you a starting point when you talk about playing time for Evan Engram and Dalvin Tomlinson, the Giants’ top two draft picks. But I’m going to say Engram plays a little more just because history has shown us that when the Giants take defensive tackles in the second round, like Hankins and Linval Joseph, they usually have to spend a year learning from the vets before fully taking over as sophomores.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact - Last season, Sterling Shepard led all rookies in snaps with 1,008 and he topped that category by a comfortable margin.  That shouldn’t surprise anyone, considering he was heavily involved in the offense.  This season, I think Evan Engram is in line for more work than any other rookie.  Dalvin Tomlinson is worth consideration, but it remains to be seen how much he’ll be used on passing downs, and Wayne Gallman’s name is relevant as well. I still think Paul Perkins will be the workhorse in 2017, limiting Gallman’s touches, at least, in the near future.


Tight end is the most improved position on the roster.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -  Whenever you add a first-round pick (Evan Engram) who is a premium pass catcher and a high-level veteran blocker (Rhett Ellison) to a position group, it is going to improve a whole lot. I would wager Engram is a better receiver than any tight end on the roster last year, and Ellison is a better blocker than any tight end on the roster last year. I don’t think you can say those sorts of things about any other position.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - Last year, it was the cornerbacks room, which gained veteran Janoris Jenkins and first-round pick Eli Apple. This year, it’s the tight ends. The Giants just hope it has a similar effect after the secondary became one of the best units in the league in 2016. Now the tight ends have Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison, and don’t forget about Matt LaCosse, who’s had a strong offseason as he overcomes some injury setbacks.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact - Compared to other positions on the roster, it’s fair to say the most additions this offseason came at tight end.  The Giants drafted Evan Engram in the first round and signed veteran Rhett Ellison, who spent his first five seasons in the league with the Vikings.  You also can’t overlook the return of Matt LaCosse, who spent all of last season on injured reserve; Will Tye entering his third season in the league; and the development of last year’s sixth round pick, Jerell Adams.  There’s a lot more versatility at tight end entering 2017 given Engram’s play making ability, Ellison’s blocking and LaCosse’s red zone presence.  The more options, the more competition during training camp, and that’s never a bad thing.

Eli Apple will lead all second-year players in snaps this season.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -  This is an excellent statement, and it will be very, very close between Eli Apple and Sterling Shepard. I will go with Shepard, because I think even with the addition of Brandon Marshall, Shepard will be on the field for 95 percent of the offensive snaps. Apple, on the other hand, should player fewer snaps than that if only because of short yardage defensive alignments in goal-to-go situations.  

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - Believe it or not, Sterling Shepard led all receivers in playing time last season and was on the field for 94.7 percent of the offensive snaps. And he was just a rookie at the time. The Giants are looking to add more variety in their packages, especially with the arrival of Brandon Marshall, but Shepard is still going to get his reps. He’s going to be a big part of the offense for years to come.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - As I noted in my response to statement one, Sterling Shepard (1,008) led all Giants’ rookies in snaps in 2016.  Andrew Adams (859) was second, followed by Eli Apple (799).  With Darian Thompson returning from injury, Adams will likely see his snaps dip, and I can see Apple getting around the same type of workload that he received as a rookie, perhaps slightly more. Despite Brandon Marshall’s presence, I’d be surprised if Shepard’s snaps significantly decrease.  While Apple has a shot to finish second on the team in 2017, I don’t think he’ll pass Shepard. You also can’t overlook Paul Perkins, who is in line to be the starting running back and will see a huge surge in snaps.

Paul Perkins will be second on the team in yards from scrimmage.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -  Another excellent statement. The easiest thing to predict is that Odell Beckham Jr. will lead the team in yards from scrimmage. The question is whether or not Brandon Marshall or Sterling Shepard will have more yards from scrimmage than Paul Perkins. I don’t think they will. With so many talented pass catchers on the roster, I think the ball will be spread out enough where both Marshall and Shepard will have fewer than 1,200 total yards, which is just about where I think Perkins will land when all is said and done.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - I don’t know if he’ll lead the team, but second place is a realistic expectation. The Giants are committed to Perkins as their starter, and he showed why down the stretch last season. He carried that momentum over to the offseason program, where he’s looked fast and elusive during OTAs. And when you add in receiving yards to his scrimmage total, he’ll finish near the top. Just look at his 67-yard catch-and-run in Week 4 in Minnesota.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - Last season, Rashad Jennings finished second behind Odell Beckham in yards from scrimmage with 794.  With Perkins in line to be the starting running back in 2017 and taking into consideration his production late in the 2016 season as well as the potential improvement of the overall run game, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he can top Jennings’ totals from last season.  The wild card here is Brandon Marshall, who I think will finish second on the team in receiving yards and, as of right now, I’ll lean toward that tally being more than Perkins’ total yards from scrimmage.