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Why did the Giants draft TE Evan Engram?

engram-4.jpg breaks down how Evan Engram fits into the team:

For the first time since Jeremy Shockey in 2002, the New York Giants used their first-round draft choice on a tight end in Evan Engram. He immediately received a text from Eli Manning, another Ole Miss product who is glad to have another playmaker at his disposal.

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"I know I'm ready to come in and make an immediate impact," Engram said. "I know for a fact. I've been watching the Giants; they're on TV all the time. I sit down and watch them, especially this past year. I've been really analyzing teams and certain offenses. The Giants have been missing a piece like me."

That's exactly what the decision-makers were thinking when they took him 23rd overall. Here's what the team saw in the newest member of Big Blue:


General manager Jerry Reese, head coach Ben McAdoo and vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross all used the same word multiple times in their post-pick press conferences: "weapon." In addition to Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard, the Giants now have Mississippi's all-time leader in receptions (162), receiving yards (2,320) and touchdown catches (15) by a tight end. And they already had the player who set or tied 47 of the school's passing records in Manning.

"We see him as a weapon," Reese said, "and we will take all of the weapons that we can get."

"The more weapons you have the harder you are to defend," Ross said, "and hopefully it will come to fruition like that."


Engram was the fastest tight end at the NFL Scouting Combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds. If you add in wide receivers, he was tied for fifth. That speed enabled him to become the first player in school history to earn All-SEC honors four times and end his career as the nation's leader among active tight ends in career receiving yards.


"The fastest way to the end zone is down the middle of the field," McAdoo said. "Anytime 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."

"We think that if you can stretch that two-high safety look with speed down the middle and you have speed on the outside," Reese said, "I think that helps us."


The Giants found their blocking tight end in Rhett Ellison via free agency, and they used the draft to add a fast, receiving tight end in Engram. McAdoo, who coached tight ends for six years in Green Bay and won a Super Bowl, will have plenty of options when it comes to personnel on offense.

"He played multiple positions at Ole Miss," McAdoo said. "I think we can bring him up and move him around a little bit. He needs to play special teams out of the gate and move him into our offense to see what he can handle. Push him that way."

"He's not going to line up on the line and just try to drive block people all the time," Ross said. "He's going to be in the backfield, he's going to be in the slot, he's going to be detached. He will be down at the traditional tight end position sometimes as well but the way Ole Miss used him he could line up at four or five different positions. He has that versatility, he has the smarts to do that, so I would envision that we would use him in similar fashion because that's a benefit that he has."


Even before the draft began, comparisons were already being made between Engram and Jordan Reed, whom the Giants know well from his years with the Washington Redskins. Engram measures at 6-foot 3 and 234 pounds, while Reed is 6-foot-2 and 246 pounds.

"I think that he opens up a lot of things," Reese said. "We just feel like – Jordan Reed is a good example of a tight end that is hard to handle, one of those undersized tight ends that is hard to handle for linebackers and safeties and this guy is probably cut in that same kind of cloth and this guy is really fast. This is a fast, receiving tight end."

"Of course when you play against a guy twice a year, it's more on your mind," Ross said. "But you don't look and say, 'We need to get that kind of guy.' It's just when you're talking about the process you bring up the comparison."

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