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Evan Engram named eighth-best tight end by ESPN

NFL scouts still believe in his potential

New York Giants v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Though New York Giants fans may have mixed feelings about Evan Engram, NFL insiders still have a high opinion of him. Engram was named the league’s eighth-best tight end by a group of players, coaches and executives in rankings released today by ESPN.

Here’s what two scouts had to say about Engram:

“He’s the guy you can do the most with in the passing game,” an AFC scout said. “He’s the guy the coordinators would want the most. He’s underachieving and something is off, because he should be putting up big numbers with that ability.”

An NFC offensive coach added: “If he were in the Chiefs’ offense, he’d be a superstar.”

That first remark sums up Engram’s career to date: he should be putting up big numbers. The question is how much he is to blame for his lack of production.

From a physical standpoint, Engram is certainly among the NFL’s elite. He plays more like a wide receiver than a tight end, and his athleticism is on par with George Kittle’s.

However, the reality is that Engram has failed to meet expectations during his four years in New York. He dropped eight passes last year, including one that directly led to a Week 7 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles. No other tight end dropped more than five.

And despite leading the team in targets, Engram finished with only 654 receiving yards and one touchdown. The Giants finished the season with a 43 percent success rate when passing to tight ends, worst in the NFL.

To be fair, opposing defenses often treated Engram like the Giants’ No. 1 receiver. The additions of Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney should take some pressure away from him. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is no stranger to coaching star tight ends, and he will find ways to get Engram open. But at some point, Engram will need to be judged based on his production rather than his potential.