All eyes will be on New York Giants tight end Evan Engram in 2021. After coming off of arguably the worst season of his career, he will have to prove people all across the NFL wrong in his contract year. His future on the team will be determined by how well he plays. The Giants have clearly not given up on Engram, as they exercised his fifth-year option.
Since he entered the league in 2017, when the Giants selected him with the 23rd overall pick, there have been high expectations for Engram. His rookie season made the expectations go up even more. He finished his first year with 64 catches for over 700 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games. Since that solid rookie season, Engram has yet to replicate those numbers and has still not addressed many of the issues that he has had since he entered the league. He has scored just seven touchdowns in the last three seasons, just one more than he had all of his rookie year.
In his four seasons, the most glaring problem for Engram has been his inability to stop dropping passses, with two seasons totaling double-digit drops. His dropped passes have hurt the Giants on more than one occasion.
Even with his issues, all hope is not lost for Evan Engram. This season could be the year where he finally takes the leap to being an elite tight end. Here’s why Engram could take the leap in 2021 for the Giants.
More Weapons on Offense
Last season, much of the Giants’ offensive load fell onto just a few players. Between wide receiver Darius Slayton and Engram himself, they were the two Giants offensive weapons that appeared in every game.
Now that they have added multiple new playmakers, the workload will be distributed. Newly-signed wideout Kenny Golladay will be the WR1 in New York. His presence alone will alleviate some of the pressure on the receiving unit and should allow for the unit. Rookie receiver Kadarius Toney should have a similar impact on the offense. His ability to make an impact all over the field will cause defenses to stay with him throughout the game.
It also can’t be ignored that the Giants have made sure to add receiving targets that have solid hands. They have had a dropping problem for some time now, and while Engram has had his problems, he is not the only one.
The Giants will also be getting back star running back Saquon Barkley. The non-existent running game in 2020 hurt this offense more than anything else. Now that they will have a playmaker at the running back position, defenses won’t be able to key in on receiving targets like they did last year.
With more weapons, less will be expected from Engram from a production standpoint. The reduced pressure may help him perform better. With defenses not being able to just key in on him, the offense may be able to just flow through him in more of a natural manner.
Kyle Rudolph’s Impact
The Giants signing veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph could prove to be massive for Evan Engram. Rudolph has been one of the league’s best tight ends since he entered the league in 2011. He has steadily produced, reaching the end zone 50 times in 146 career games. More importantly, Rudolph hasn’t dropped a pass in the last two seasons.
Rudolph’s consistent hands and success at the tight end position should help Evan Engram immensely. Being able to learn from someone like that will only help him further improve his knowledge of the game.
Engram also made an appearance at Tight End U, the tight end’s summit put together by Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Greg Olsen. He was able to gain first hand insight from the best players at his position.
Heading into this season, Engram will be bringing all of this newfound knowledge with him. Expectations will still be high for the tight end but, for the first time, he should be up to the task. Engram is still one of the best athletes in the NFL. He has proven that he can make big plays. His size and speed are both elite and have given defenses problems since he first showed up in the NFL. He should be able to finally live up to his draft day expectations and become one of the league’s best tight ends.