Great news and bad news. The great news is that TE Evan Engram is a monster player. Jerry Reese drafted an absolute offensive menace that will create nightmares for Defensive Coordinators around the NFL. The bad news? Eli may get killed before he can throw the ball to him.
Let’s talk Engram first. Wonder, the UltimateNYG draft analyst, absolutely loves Engram. He ranked him #10 Overall in this draft with a “2” Pro Bowl projection. So whenever you take a guy like this at 23, he is clearly a great pick. The problem is that Eli already has tons of what we affectionately call “toys.” Engram is yet another “weapon,” a toy for Eli to play pitch and catch with. Between OBJ, Marshall, Shepard, Perkins and now Engram, the Giants have an offensive arsenal.
Engram is not a blocking TE. Engram is more like a slot WR. He can even get lined up as a wideout. He is 6’3″, 234 lbs. He has long arms. His 40 combine time was identical to OBJ’s. THE BEST WAY TO UNDERSTAND ENGRAM IS THAT HE HAS EXPLOSIVE ACCELERATION. His burst at the line of scrimmage is remarkable and once he catches the ball he can take it to the house. “He reminds me of a tall OBJ, how he explodes out of the break,” says Wonder. “He is elusive for a big WR. Defensive Coordinators will have their hands full. I have to drop 2 Safeties back to make sure OBJ and Engram don’t run through me, and even then I am not sure that is enough. I have all kinds of headaches. And Marshall can run the quick slant inside.”
On Tuesday, Wonder referred to Engram as “unguardable.”
So how do we keep Eli upright? That is the problem. Wonder was really excited about Engram as a Giants draft pick in earlier sidebar discussions with me, but I rejected the idea because Engram is not a blocker at the line of scrimmage. I preferred OJ Howard. He is a complete TE that is both a blocker and a receiver. Howard went 4 picks before the Gmen at 19 to TB. Wonder did a decent job of assuaging my protection concerns by emphatically reminding me that the Gmen got an absolute beast of a player.
Structurally, philosophically, call it old school but I believe in the line of scrimmage first and the toys second. If the Giants did not grab Marshall in the offseason, the Engram pick would have made enough sense. The only way it comes together is if the OL can do their freaking job. Any Giants fan is going to have plenty of questions about the OL protection. Maybe the Giants win the lottery by convincing Cleveland to trade Joe Thomas for a 2 and a 4. Then the Giants go to the Super Bowl. But without a credible Offensive Tackle? MEDIC!
Anyone here counting on a miracle transformation of Flowers and Hart this offseason?
2 years ago, the Giants traded up to grab Landon Collins at 33. It was a move we applauded instantly because Collins was a ~25th ranked value and he filled a big need. Similarly, if the Giants were to trade up and grab T Cam Robinson at 33 this year, that would be great value and it would address need. Frankly, if the Giants had drafted Robinson at 23 I would have been very good with that. So if I have to pay up a little bit (moving from 55>33) to grab a credible Tackle, I do not have a problem with that because I believe this franchise needs to WIN NOW in 2017. They have looming cap problems and Eli is scheduled to go on life support. Getting immediate help at Tackle is a necessity.
SUMMARY: The Giants got a true monster Offensive weapon in Evan Engram. If they can find a way to keep Eli upright it will pay off. If not, Eli may not make it to his 37th Birthday.
P.S. A shout-out to new 49ers GM John Lynch, who absolutely killed it tonight. My goodness, he gets paid a 3, 3, and 4 to move down 1 spot from 2 to 3 overall, takes the same player he would have taken in Solomon Thomas, then he gives up the Bears original 4 and trades up a couple of picks back into the end of Round 1 to grab Reuben Foster. So he gets two of the best defenders in the Draft and he net collects two more 3rd round draft picks. Bravo.