2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Evan Engram
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: A mismatch receiving tight end is one of the most desired offensive weapons across the NFL. With a legit combination of size and speed, tight ends are very difficult to defend in the middle portion of the field while providing third-down and red-zone weapons for their quarterbacks. In the 2017 NFL Draft, Engram could be one of the most dynamic receiving tight end prospects, and that is saying something considering the other excellent talents like Alabama's O.J. Howard and Miami's David Njoku. Those two are probably the top tight ends, but Engram could be the third one off the board.
While other members of Ole Miss' superb 2013 recruiting class received more attention, Engram really played well in his debut for the Rebels. The true freshman caught 21 passes for 268 yards with three touchdowns. 2014 was an even better season for Engram than his freshman year. The sophomore caught 38 passes for 662 yards with two touchdowns in 2014. Engram was a dangerous receiving threat who carved up Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State. Engram absolutely torched and abused future New York Giants safety Landon Collins in their matchup that season.
Engram had somewhat of a down year as a junior, but he played better late in the regular season. He had 38 receptions for 464 yards and two touchdowns in 2015.
As a senior, Engram was phenomenal with big performances against Florida State (9-121-1) and Alabama (9-1381-1). In 2016, he totaled 65 receptions for 926 yards and eight scores. He could have had more production if his quarterback Chad Kelly hadn't gone down with a season-ending injury in early November.
For the NFL, Engram is a dynamite receiving weapon down the middle seam of the field. He is lightning while running vertically down the field with speed, explosiveness and athleticism. Engram also is a very good route-runner and consistently gets separation. He is way too fast for linebackers and uses his size well against safeties. He often burned man coverage and is very adept at finding the soft spot in zone coverage.
Engram repeatedly used his leaping ability and frame to make catches over defenders. Those led to a lot of highlight-reel receptions from Engram. Engram is a dangerous run-after-the-catch receiver. He has a second gear to run away from defenders and explode into the open field. He can flash some moves and strength as a runner. At the Senior Bowl, Engram was phenomenal as a receiver.
Engram will never be a significant blocker in the NFL, but at the Senior Bowl, he did better than expected in that category. At Ole Miss, Engram made some impressive cut blocks on the edge to spring his running backs to the outside and downfield. A big part of blocking for tight ends is just having the desire and giving an effort; Engram does that and often finds a way to contribute. He will never be a force as a run blocker or pass protector in the NFL, but he could chip in some blocks and may not be a real liability.
Engram may not be a true three-down starting tight end in the NFL, but he will likely be a mismatch receiver who really hurts defenses down the middle seam. In a passing offense, Engram could be tremendous. He also will make a double-tight end sets very dangerous, and the attention he commands could let the other tight end get wide open out of neglect. Engram should really excel in his role and be an asset for his offense.
As a pro, Engram could be a devastating mismatch weapon and one of the top receiving tight ends in the NFL. He should contribute some as a blocker, but he is a limited player in that regard. In the 2017 NFL Draft, Engram is deserving of a selection in the second or third round.
Player Comparison: Jordan Reed. Engram looks like a clone of Jordan Reed. They both are tremendous receiving tight ends to work the middle seam with speed and athleticism. Reed (6-2, 246) is an inch shorter than Reed and a little heavier, but Reed is one of the top mismatch tight end weapons in the NFL. Engram could provide the same sort of impact for an offense. Both are willing blockers, but limited because of their size. Reed also has had issues with injuries and concussions. That could be a problem for Engram in the NFL given the way he plays. Reed was a second-day pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, and Engram should go in the same range.
NFL Matches: Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Denver, Houston, New York Giants, Green Bay and Pittsburgh
There are a lot of teams that could use tight end help, so Engram could be in real demand on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft. On Day 2, there are a lot of potential landing spots for Engram.
Tennessee could use a tight end to pair with Delanie Walker as he didn't close out the season in great fashion.
Tampa Bay has wanted to have two-tight end sets as a big part of their offense. Cameron Brate has turned into the secondary tight end, but Austin Seferian-Jenkins didn't work out as the primary. Engram could give the Bucs that receiving weapon with a weapon for Jameis Winston.
The Broncos have some blocking tight ends, but could use a receiving tight end in Denver. He could be a nice weapon for Paxton Lynch.
The Texans badly need a receiving tight end to pair with C.J. Fiedorowicz. Engram would be an instant upgrade to the Houston offense. On the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft, Engram could be a top target for the Texans.
The Packers could look to upgrade their tight end position, and Engram would be a great fit in their offense. He makes all sorts of sense for Green Bay.
For Pittsburgh, Jesse James is just a backup quality tight end while Ladarius Green had injury issues in 2016. Engram would be an instant upgrade for the Steelers.
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