New York Giants fans were not expecting Commissioner Roger Goodell to read the name Evan Engram when the team’s turn came up Thursday night in the 2017 NFL Draft. The closer the time came for the Giants to be on the clock, though, the more Engram felt like he was going to be a Giant.
“I sat here and I saw it was Miami the pick before and New York just a little bit above it. I was just like, alright let’s see, Miami could call and New York could call. As soon as the Miami pick went in, I got the call. I saw the city under the number and I knew it,” Engram said during a conference call with New York media late Thursday night. “I wasn’t expecting it. I felt that it was coming but it was just, I was kind of surprised by it but I felt it in my dreams.”
Engram said he had limited contact with the Giants at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. He said while that made it seem like the selection “came out of nowhere” he added that “I kind of felt that they had their eye on me.”
“I can’t put it into words. Honestly, I dreamed of playing for a couple of teams. I had it in my mind and New York was at the top,” Engram said. “This is an amazing feeling. I’m so blessed. I can’t even find the words to describe it. I’m just very thankful and blessed to be a part of just this night. I have my family and friends. It’s a real blessing. I feel really blessed.”
Many are surprised that the 6’4”, 234-pound Engram, who is listed as tight end but is really more of a versatile pass-catching weapon who can playing multiple spots, was selected before Miami tight end David Njoku. There was, though, late pre-draft talk from some NFL analysts that Engram could come off the board in the late stages of Round 1.
The Giants made that happen.
“I knew I deserved to be (a first-round pick) and I knew I should be. It’s just what I bring to the table. I’m so dynamic and so confident in myself. I’m not trying to be cocky or anything because that’s 100 percent not it. I’m just really confident in what I can bring to a team,” Engram said. “I definitely believe that I should’ve gotten a call in the first round and that someone was getting one of the most dynamic players and best players in the draft. I knew that I should be and I was just praying that I was.
“I came back for my senior year and that was one of my goals to solidify a first-round pick. God has led me through all of this and to hear that tonight with the New York Giants, I knew that it was going to happen, I knew it should happen and I’m blessed that it did.”
Engram said “I’m ready to come in and make an immediate impact,” and that he felt entering the draft that the Giants were a team he could help.
“I’ve been really analyzing teams and certain offenses. The Giants have been missing a piece like me. They have a great quarterback and I think Tye, 45, was great for them. I felt that I could be another more dynamic piece at that role,” Engram said. “I just always felt that they would look at a guy like me to come in and contribute. I know my skill set. I’m confident in my game and how hard I work.”
Giants GM Jerry Reese said of Engram that “we think that he can be a matchup nightmare for teams trying to cover him with linebackers and safeties.”
Engram hopes to prove him right.
“I guess from a coach’s standpoint, they love to move me around to make those mismatches. I know that my coaches at Ole Miss did and I kind of get excited when I see some big linebacker that is trying to man me up or some big safeties with bad hips – I just get excited when I see those guys trying to man me up,” Engram said. “I do feel like I am a mismatch problem.”
Engram’s quarterback with the Giants will be Ole Miss alum Eli Manning. The two are already familiar with each other.
“He’s always around Ole Miss in the offseason. There’s been a couple of times I’ve caught a couple of balls for him. Just servicing him and running some routes that he needed,” Engram said. “It kind of manifested in those moments I guess, this moment right here. I can’t wait to play with him, learn from him and just be a great player for this team.”