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90-Man Roster Preview: How Productive Will Evan Engram Be?

There are only so many receptions to go around, so how many will Engram get?

What is a reasonable expectation for the rookie season production of New York Giants’ first-round draft pick Evan Engram? Thirty catches? Fifty catches? Seventy catches?

Let’s look at the question as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.

2016 Season In Review

Engram caught 65 passes for 926 yards and eight touchdowns for Ole Miss. He was selected as First-Team All-SEC and earned the Ozzie Newsome Award as the nation’s top tight end.

2017 Season Outlook

In the OTAs media has thus far been able to watch, we have seen Engram lined up wide, occasionally in the slot, as a part of bunch sets and as a detached tight end standing up a couple of yards off the tackle on either side. What we haven’t seen in offense vs. defense drills, to my recollection, is Engram lined up with his hand in the ground as an inline tight end or offset in the backfield as a lead blocker.

As the play book develops, Engram gains comfort and the Giants gain a better grasp on his skill set maybe that changes. For now, though, it gives us a hint on how we will likely see the 6-foot-3, 236-pound rookie utilized during the coming season.

How much production is it fair to expect from Engram?

In three seasons with Ben McAdoo calling the plays, Eli Manning has averaged 381 pass completions per season. His numbers have been fairly consistent, 379 in 2014, 387 (a career-high) in 2015 and 377 last season. So, let’s use that 381 number as a benchmark. Maybe it goes up somewhat in a pass-heavy offense, but that is the data we have at the present time.

Figure Odell Beckham Jr. will get 100 catches or so, after getting 101 last season. In his last 10 seasons, discounting his rookie year when he caught just 20 passes, Brandon Marshall has averaged 92 catches per season. He had 109 for the New York Jets in 2015, but only 59 last year. Let’s split the difference and figure him for about 80 receptions. We’re just guessing here, trying to estimate how many targets might be available for Engram, but let’s say Sterling Shepard matches his rookie output of 65 catches.

By our rough, unscientific, calculations that is 245 completions accounted for.

Running backs accounted for 83 receptions last season and 82 in 2015, again remarkably consistent as we try to figure out ball distribution in a McAdoo offense. That number was only 62 in 2014, when Andre Williams and Peyton Hillis played significant snaps, and Shane Vereen was still a member of the New England Patriots. Let’s give the backs, with Vereen, Paul Perkins, Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman all capable pass catchers, 80 receptions.

That puts us in the neighborhood of 325 catches. That leaves us with about 55 available receptions. Even if we give Manning a career-high 400 completions, that’s only 75 available receptions.

Figure that Engram’s playing time probably won’t approach the 1,006 snaps Shepard played last year. More realistically, his on-field time might look more like the 681 snaps Will Tye played a year ago.

Throw all of that into the hopper and mix it up and I will put the over/under on rookie season receptions for Engram at 50. If he exceeds that total by any sort of significant margin someone else’s numbers will likely be less than expected.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The video at the top of this post comes from Samuel R. Gold of SB Nation’s Field Gulls.]


Will Evan Engram have more or less than 50 receptions as a rookie?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    More than 50
    (861 votes)
  • 42%
    Less than 50
    (642 votes)
1503 votes total Vote Now

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