The Evan Engram appreciation post

Evan Engram — underrated and very, very interesting

Jimmy Graham is borderline unstoppable at the moment. His blossoming chemistry with Russell Wilson is exciting for Seattle’s offense and he’s starting to look like the 1200 yards, 10-15 touchdown TE we saw in New Orleans.

Nick Vannett’s return to health makes the tight end position quite a strength for Seattle. Luke Willson is a very solid #2 while Brandon Williams is a decent blocker and core special teamer.

Tanner McEvoy is also on the roster and had his first career pass (and touchdown) yesterday. He’s essentially a WR/TE hybrid and a project who could end up permanently at either position.

The Seahawks seem to like McEvoy while their receivers are all signed up for the long haul. Graham isn’t going anywhere and they just drafted Vannett. Yet Willson and Williams are both free agents in 2017 and if both depart — that leaves at least one opening in the off-season.

Is there room for another crazy athletic big target on the roster in the future?


The line between receiver and tight end is becoming increasingly blurred these days. Big, explosive TE’s with a massive catching radius are all the rage — occasionally taking the place of the ‘orthodox’ #1 receiver. Complimenting these seam-busting giants are the smaller, sudden receivers who work as well in the slot as they do hugging the sideline (eg OBJ, Antonio Brown, Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and lately Will Fuller).

The idea of two truly dynamic TE’s has been intriguing since the Gronk/Aaron Hernandez days in New England. It was incredibly difficult to defend. Gronk was the all-round monster and Hernandez more of the ‘joker’ style receiver or H-back. There’s a chance Graham and Willson could develop a similar dual-threat partnership this year — but if that happens it’ll be harder to re-sign Willson.

Vannett could be pencilled in for such a role too but appears to be more of a traditional TE that can be used as an extra blocker. Even in that role he’d be an asset in this physical offense. Theoretically you could see all three TE’s on the field at the same time later in the year — with Graham in the slot or out wide and Willson/Vannett book-ending the OL.

The point I’m making is multiple TE sets and TE/WR hybrids appear to be here to stay and they might lose a couple of TE’s in free agency. So why not spend a bit of time looking at a player who is extremely underrated today?

Ole Miss’ Evan Engram is a little bit like Jordan Reed albeit 10lbs lighter. He can line up anywhere — inline TE, detached, slot, H-back. He’s a mismatch. At a listed 6-3 and 227lbs you could just use him as an out-and-out bigger receiver if you wanted. He has the agility, fluidity and athleticism to make it work.

So far in 2016 Engram has averaged 95.8 yards per game and 17.3 yards per catch. He is Ole Miss’ leading receiver with a healthy 174-yard lead over #2 target Damore’ea Stringfellow. Engram also has four touchdowns in five games.

These numbers are even more impressive when you consider his poorest statistical performance came in a week two walkover against Wofford. Presumably he didn’t play many snaps in the 38-13 victory where the Rebels never got out of second gear. Here are the collective numbers he put up in the other four games against Florida State, Alabama, Georgia and Memphis:

Receiving yards: 436
Receiving yards average per game: 109
Yards per catch: 16.25
Touchdowns: 4

That’s an impressive return against tough opponents — and Engram is well on his way to a +1000 yard season with +10 touchdowns.

It’s easy to see why he’s so productive… those hands…

Now fast forward to 0:38 in the video below. Doesn’t this catch just remind you of Jimmy Graham’s brilliant one-handed grab against the Jets yesterday?

How athletic is he? Expect an incredible vertical leap at the combine. Check out his touchdown vs Georgia at 1:41 in the video below:

Check out 0:48 and 1:31 below from the Florida State game to see his capabilities as a blocker, helping to spring a couple of really nice runs by sealing the edge. He also has a nice touchdown at 2:17, running a crisp route and showing he’s in sync with the QB on a timing throw:

In terms of his personality/character — he also seems personable and intelligent:

If he runs well — and there’s no reason to doubt that — I suspect Engram will go a lot higher than people are currently projecting. Athleticism + size + character + production in the SEC = high draft grade.

It’s worth putting him near the top of your watch list this season.


  1. nichansen01

    Bradley Sowell has improved each week. Any chance we resign him and let him compete with Fant instead of targeting a McGlinchey type player earlier in the draft?

    • Rob Staton

      Of course.

    • Nathan_12thMan

      Not to mention the possibility that even if Ifedi looks awesome at right guard we move him to right tackle in 2017. That would give Gilliam the ability to compete for LT with Sowell and Fant. We could go into the ’17 regular season looking like this on OL:

      LT: Fant (backup: Gilliam, Sowell)

      LG: Glowinski (backup Webb)

      C: Britt (backup: Hunt)

      RG: Odhiambo (backup Webb)

      RT: Ifedi (backup Gilliam, Webb, Sowell)

      The only thing I’m not sure of is if we’d move Glowinski to RG because I think Rees Odhiambo is more comfortable on the left side (LT, LG).

  2. Nathan

    I know we’re always whingeing unfairly about certain aspects of the team building recently, but how dirty would you be if you’re a giants fan who’d just shelled out mega dollars on the d line and can’t get to the opposition QB?

    • vrtkolman

      Against a terrible Vikings offensive line as well. Shelling out mega bucks just doesn’t work well when building a team. You have big ego players that come from all kinds of different football cultures and you try to meld them together, that’s a recipe for disaster. The Giants coaching staff looks pretty clueless as well. McAdoo was a good coordinator but so far I’m not seeing what he brings to the table as a head coach.

      • Volume12

        They had a stud DT in Linval Joseph just entering the prime of his career, they don’t re-sign him, but then turn around and give huge deals to guys or D-lineman like Damon ‘Snacks’ Harrison and Olivier Vernon. Makes no sense to me.

        Just like down in Jacksonville. I thought DL Malik Jackson was overrated and not a good FA pickup at all. He makes that team better how? They already had good DTs in Jared Odrick, can play 5-tech, Roy Miller, Ryan Davis, can rush from the interior, and one of the most underrated DTs playing in Sen’derrick Marks. Not to mention last year’s 6th rounder Michael Bennett who flashed nicely for a day 3 rookie DT.

    • CharlieTheUnicorn

      The Giants Defense is not the major problem, it is the offense. They are not playing very well… lead by OBJ. The defense would look much better if it could get teams off the field and the offense could have sustained drives. The worst aspect of the Giants is the OL, they are not holding up very well so far in 2016.

  3. Volume12

    I like the TE’s better this year than the WRs (not a bad class). Plus, Seattle has a pretty solid core there as is, and they always find receivers in UDFA anyways.

    TE IMO is a position to monitor this year for 2 reasons:

    1. As Rob mentions, PC always refers to NE’s offense as the future of pro football. And one of, if not THE staple of it, is their 2 TEs.

    2. Again, mentioned above, the fact Luke Wilson is a FA. Now if they do re-sign him it probably becomes irrelevant.

    • C-Dog

      I’ve been thinking this way about the position for a while. If they want to hang onto Shead, C-Mike and a few others, might be hard to keep Willson and this looks like a really good TE class. Love Engram’s game.

    • AlaskaHawk

      I can’t imagine Willson getting more then 2 million a year from another team. He just isn’t used that much by the Seahawks and is a bit of an unknown to other teams.

      • Volume12

        I agree. It’s really gonna depend on how much Seattle values him.

  4. cha

    I like that there are blocking highlights included. Either position he plays TE or WR, blocking is a nice asset to have on your resume.

    Looks like he has a bit of Anquan Boldin to his game at the next level. Great size and hands, but maybe with more speed.

  5. CHawk Talker Eric

    He reminds me of Shannon Sharpe. Not too big, highly athletic.

    We discussed Will Fuller a bit last season. He’s turning out to be everything we thought he might (could) be.

    • D-OZ

      Sharpe is a good comparison. If he was still there in the first I don’t think the Hawks would hesitate to pull the trigger. Exceptional weapon. I think he will go in the 15 to 20 range though. He’s that good. Great character.

  6. Nathan

    Geez the Giants offense is a mess.

    No communication.

    • cha

      Did I see that right? Late in the game ESPN flashed a graphic that said OBJ didn’t even get a TARGET on 9 of the last 10 Giants possessions?


  7. Kenny Sloth

    I liked this guy a ton last year! Probably goes in the early second unless he years up the combine. Seems to have a higher ceiling than Eric Ebron did coming out.

    Really hope he is heavier than 225. I don’t think he’d make it out wide.
    He has the frame for more weight, but maybe lacks the sheer mass to dominate a corner at this point.

    • Cysco

      nailed my thoughts as well kenny.

      That dude looks really skinny. Love the skill set, but he needs to spend some serious time in the weight room. He doesn’t appear to to have the speed or fluidity to justify a high pick as a WR and doesn’t have the size to justify one at a TE.

      If he’s capable of bulking up without losing what speed and agility he has, then he could be a nice TE prospect.

      Goes to show just how much of a freak Jimmy G. is. A man that stands 6ft 7 with the physique to make it as a WWE wrestler and the athleticism of a NBA shooting guard. He either represents the peak of human evolution or he’s not of this world. Given his inhuman ability to heal and his uncanny ability master earth’s flying machines, I tend to lean towards alien. I’m just glad he’s shared some of his people’s healing technology with our QB.

      • vrtkolman

        I really hope we can keep him. He’s obviously not running near full speed yet, but just think this is probably what he will look like when he’s 35 or so. He will still be a top receiving threat.

      • Kenny Sloth

        Don’t misunderstand me. I think he’s an exceptional talent and will have a place in the NFL. Just trying to brainstorm what his best position and usage at the next level would be.

        I think he will be a very productive move TE at the next level because of his hands, effort, and fluidity.

        He looks fast and strong, but perhaps his low weight will be exposed at the next level

    • vrtkolman

      I agree Kenny. 6-3 225 isn’t even that big for a NFL wide receiver. His combine will dictate where he goes IMO. If his 40 is too slow than I don’t see NFL teams falling in love. Reed is on the smaller size of tight ends and yet he is still listed at 246. That’s over 20 lbs heavier than Engram.

      • Volume12

        6’3, 225 lbs is great size for a receiver.

        • East Side Stevie

          V12 off topic here my man, but how did mike morgan get hurt and when?

          • Volume12

            He had a hernia and needed surgery. Not exactly sure when it was.

            • CharlieTheUnicorn

              This was an ongoing injury, I suspect it might have occurred in the preseason and they were trying to work through it / tough it out. He finally called NO MAS… IR he went.

    • D-OZ

      You can’t look at him as a traditional TE. His blocking looks good considering his size. He can be used in a lot of different ways. Considering his hand’s and the receiver class he is definitely a first rounder to me.

  8. Nathan_12thMan

    I love posts like this and I love receivers like this. Obviously two players really impact whether we’d get this guy or not;

    1. Luke Willson. Do we re-sign him? If so then drafting this guy could be a relative mistake. We’re deep at TE and not exactly shallow at WR.

    2. Does McEvoy develop into a real NFL TE/WR? Or is he another Chris Matthews type who we eventually cut?

    I love Luke, but personally I wouldn’t mind (in fact might desire) letting him walk and drafting a replacement like this guy. No matter what I question Luke’s hands and route running ability. For such a tall, athletic receiver we rarely use him in the passing attack it seems. His hands seem questionable and he doesn’t seem to win routes. And even with his fantastic speed he doesn’t seem to explode off the LOS, or have the ability to change directs and keep his speed up (creating separation).

    All of that makes me look at a guy like this (though he’s only 6’3 not 6’6) who can run routes, has fantastic hands, has great body control, and is highly athletic. Sign me up assuming we let Willson walk.

  9. bankhawk

    I like Luke as well as the next 12, but when viewed as a choice between signing him and reupping players like C-Mike and Shead, well-you know. Then I realize Im not all that up on exactly who we are lôking at as free agents/RFAs next year, and which players will be êntering that window of being players in the final year of their contract who may be priority targets for negotiations in JS/PCs minds. I know JS will have a plan in mind even as we discuss it, but I dont have it in clear focus-anyone out thêre have a better handle on this?
    Also, just how big are Engrams hands to allow him to put together an otherworldly performance like the one in that workout tape? Sheesh!

    • Rob Staton

      Will have a post up this week on who is a pending free agent (UFA & RFA).

      Good news is Shead is a RFA and so is Gilliam. No major UFA’s.

  10. East Side Stevie

    Rob in your write up about RFA and UFA can you clarify the difference between the two? I know the difference is unrestricted and restricted, but how do players get classified into the two categories and what it means to be restricted versus un restricted?

    sorry to sound unintelligent Im young and still learning in this.

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