Coach Ben McAdoo discussed how Rookie TE Evan Engram fits into the offense:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today opened their annual rookie minicamp, where Ben McAdoo fielded questions about one draft choice expected to play a lot this season, and another who might never step on the field.
The former is tight end Evan Engram, the first-round draft choice from Ole Miss. The latter is quarterback Davis Webb, the third-round selection from Cal via Texas Tech.
McAdoo is formulating numerous plans to deploy Engram with wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr., Sterling Shepard, and newcomer Brandon Marshall. His strategy for Webb is more long-term; he wants the youngster to learn how to be a successful NFL quarterback by observing and listening to Eli Manning, whom he may or may not one day succeed as the team's starter.
Engram's progress is also tied to Manning, but much differently. An outstanding receiver with, as McAdoo noted, "big hands," he must develop a rapport with the player who will throw him the ball.
"The biggest challenge for him at this level and especially here is the timing and the rhythm of the quarterback," McAdoo said. "He has to time his routes up with the quarterback, not necessarily with the quarterback timing up when he is open, so that is going to be different. The ball is going to get on him a lot quicker here than what he is used to even on the downfield stuff, so it is going to be a little bit of a learning curve there. But he does have nice, big, strong hands."
At Ole Miss, Engram played in the kind of spread, up-tempo offense that is so prevalent in college football. The Giants aren't exactly plodders, but Engram – who caught 162 passes and scored 15 touchdowns in his Rebels career – will still travel on a sharp learning curve.
"We can't hold against him what he has been asked to do in a previous offense," McAdoo said. "We have to develop him as we go along and see what he can handle, see what he is comfortable with, and see how we can push him to grow being comfortable being uncomfortable. Where we start and where we finish may be two different things."
Blocking is usually mentioned early in a tight end's job description, but both Engram's skills and the offense in which he played dictated that he be more a receiver. McAdoo was asked if blocking will be the "biggest thing" in determining Engram's playing time.
"No, everything is different," he said. "Everything is going to be a challenge. He is coming from more of a spread-type offense where he was off the ball a ton. We will have him play off of the ball a little bit. We won't just have him out there in 11 personnel (three wide receivers), we will mix him in. But special teams will be big for him. That will be big early on. He will have a chance to make an immediate impact there as he learns and grows on the offensive side."
Barring an unpleasant and unforeseen circumstance, Webb's only game-day impact this year will be during the preseason. But he shares some of the same challenges as Engram, most notably learning the offense as completely and quickly as possible. This camp is his first opportunity to take what he's learned and execute it on the field.
"You have a chance to just teach him install one, and introduce him to the system, so to speak, so that he is familiar with how we adjust things," McAdoo said. "Maneuvering through the playbook, fundamentals are big, talking to him in today's day and age about how we get away from center, how we receive the ball and just different things fundamentally, but a lot of stuff under center for him."
McAdoo first had a chance to work with Webb, albeit briefly, at the scouting combine in March.
"He may have had a chance early on to get his hands on it a little bit," McAdoo said of learning the offense. "Sometimes, you introduce him during the process – like down in Indianapolis, you may take him through some things and see if they can spit it back to you. But really, he has been hands on here with it.
"He had some training going into Indianapolis and in the offseason to get ready for the workouts, so you could see that that definitely paid off for him. That helped him, so he is familiar and he has worked at it, but he had a good start."
• McAdoo on defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, the team's second-round choice who wrestled and played soccer in high school:
"I think that he is more athletic than he gets credit for," McAdoo said. "I think it is an advantage for guys coming out that have played different sports and haven't just been a one sport guy."
• McAdoo on what he hopes to get out of the minicamp:
"We just want to introduce them to the offense, defense and special teams," he said. "Get out here and teach them how we practice, get an evaluation on some guys, some tryout guys who have come in. Those guys are always champing at the bit and give them an opportunity."
View the best images as Giants Rookie Minicamp gets underway