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Evan Engram: What the scouts say about Giants’ first-round pick

Engram is “a natural hands catcher who will best be served as a motion tight end”

NFL: Combine
Evan Engram
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

What did the New York Giants get by selecting Evan Engram in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft? They got a player they hope will help them diversity their passing attack and combat the plethora of Cover 2 defenses that befuddled them a season ago.

Here is what scouts say about Engram.

NFL Draft Report:

Engram is blessed with impressive athletic ability, good power and exceptional quickness for the tight end position. He has performed at the traditional tight end slot, as an H-back, slot receiver and at the “Y” receiver position, in addition to excelling on the special team coverage units. ...

He is very effective as a motion tight end, showing the functional strength and hand extension to be very effective making angle blocks. He comes off the snap with above average acceleration and is sudden to get into his patterns. He also plays with good urgency and has the speed to affect and stretch coverage.

He consistently shows a quick release, using his hands effectively to avoid the jam and will not take any false steps or hesitate getting into his patterns. He has enough functional strength to power through the line hold-up, but needs to do a better job of protecting his feet vs. the low hits. The thing you notice on film is his acceleration and ability to drive off the ball instantly. ...

His routes are crisp and defined, as his body control and quickness allows him to easily uncover and separate after the catch. He will not hesitate to compete for the ball going over the middle and has the strength and physical nature to try to gain extra yardage after the catch. ...

Engram possesses the vertical speed to get deep. He has sure hands, doing a nice job of extending to catch away from the body’s framework and makes good body adjustments to get to the off-target throws. He has the ability to get open quickly in the short and medium areas and has good acceleration after the catch. When he has to leap for the contested ball, he becomes a physical receiver who shows toughness to out-fight the defender for the sphere.

Engram will always maintain concentration working in the crowd and shows the vertical skills to go up and get the ball at its high point. He looks very flexible and times his leaps properly. He runs hard and has that second gear needed to burst up the seam after the catch. Despite giving up bulk to the larger down linemen, he works hard to steer and drive defenders off the ball and does a very good job of creating outside rush lanes for the ball carriers. He does an adequate job and shows good effort blocking in-line, but is better when making the cut block up field (not used much as a lead blocker). ...

He is a natural hands catcher who will best be served as a motion tight end at the NFL level. He has great field vision and the ability to break down and locate and is a big target for the vertical passing game due to his deep speed. He is a very sharp route runner who gets his head turned properly to track the ball in flight over his shoulder. He still has room to grow physically, but it is his athletic ability that immediately catches your eyes.

Pro Football Focus:

Engram has the potential to be a useful chess piece in the receiving game when matched up against cumbersome linebackers and safeties. At his size right now though NFL defenses could consider matching him up with slot-corners; and as athletic as he is, he’s not crazy athletic to the point where some of the more hybrid linebacker’s we’re seeing in the NFL will have consistent issues keeping up with him. Engram offers little as a blocker, so until he bulks up and cleans up that aspect of his game he could struggle to see the field.

Ian Wharton NFL Draft Guide:

One of the more fun an unique playmakers in the class, Evan Engram has the chance to make an impact in his first year in the right situation. Though he is not at all a blocker, and that significantly hurt his grade, Engram is a solid receiver given his frame and quickness. Engram specializes in the slot as a seam threat, where he showed toughness and fluidity downfield. He doesn’t fool defenders as a route-runner or after the catch, but as defenses have gotten smaller, he is going to be a mismatch in the NFL. Vertical offenses will love his ability to stride along side receivers, while West Coast attacks can utilize him as a vertical option in contrast to clear out the slants and short patterns outside of the numbers. Every offense can use an Engram-type player, and he should be a good player for a long time.

Dane Brugler (CBS Sports) 2017 NFL Draft Guide:

A four-year starter at tight end, Engram lined up all over the formation at Ole Miss, spending most of his time in the slot as a hybrid pass-catcher. He leaves Oxford as the most productive tight end in program history and made the most of his decision to return for his senior season, leading the Rebels and setting career-bests in every receiving category. With his body type and bulk, Engram looks more like a physical wide receiver than traditional tight end, but instead of being one or the other, he should be viewed as a hybrid of both. He is an above average athlete for his size with the route quickness and ball skills to be a dangerous receiving threat, displaying fluid adjustments and sticky hands to twist and snare. While a competitive blocker, Engram doesn’t have the strength potential to be overwhelming in this area and is more of a one-pop type. His fit at the next level will vary depending on scheme, but to get the most out of his versatile skill-set, Engram projects best as a “big” slot receiver – should be considered in the first round by several teams.