Evan Engram needs to be a top 5 tight end. The stakes are that high. Giants staffers will defend this pick by pointing to the bottom of the barrel stats Giants’ tight ends accumulated a season ago. The men in blue may have had limited production at the TE spot, but Evan Engram isn’t a prototypical tight end. It’s honestly hard to justify him as a tight end at all. At a mere 6’3, he’s a full 2 inches shorter than the Giants’ newly acquired star wide receiver Brandon Marshall, and at 234 pounds he’s grossly undersized compared to the linebackers he’ll be tasked to block.
This isn’t a shot at Engram as a player by any means, from what I’ve seen on tape he looks like a matchup nightmare and could prove to be one hell of a pick. The issue for the Giants is that the kid can’t block for shit. Basically they just drafted a FOURTH wide receiver with their 1st round pick (Odell, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard round out the receiving corps). I’m all for picking the best player available and not just picking for position, but there have to be certain limits to this line of thinking.
The first limit is that even if Big Blue’s front office was head-over-heels for this kid they could’ve traded back and gained some more assets in this draft. Engram was a projected 2nd-rounder, so a trade back in the draft would’ve easily yielded a 3rd round pick plus throw-ins.
Sadly, this is far from the first time we’ve seen an absolute unwillingness to trade up or down in the Jerry Reese era. The ONE time he traded up in the 2nd round 2 drafts ago, he landed superstar safety Landon Collins.
Again, I’m not blaming Reese for his strong-armed approach to not trade UP. I understand the importance of holding on to your later-round picks and future picks to fill out the roster and ensure future talent. My issue is that “No Balls” Jerry won’t even entertain the idea of trading DOWN in the draft. Just take a look at their 1st round picks in 2016 and 2015 – Eli Apple at #10 and Mr. “I can’t block jack shit” himself Ereck Flowers at #9. Both guys were projected to go minimum 10 picks later and Flowers in particular was deemed a huge project. You don’t take huge projects when you’re drafting in the top 10. You just don’t. If Reese and Co loved him that much, TRADE BACK. Jesus, it doesn’t take Omar Little sized balls to make this kind of simple smart maneuver.
For the umpteenth year in a row, the Gmen took a player way higher than his projection and didn’t move back to accumulate more draft picks and assets. THAT is inexcusable.
What makes things worse is the plethora of talent on the defensive side of the ball in this year’s draft. I have no fuckin’ idea how Alabama’s Jonathan Allen, the same Jonathan Allen who absolutely terrorized opposing backfields and QB’s last season, fell to the 17th pick to the in-division Redskins. And what position does he happen to play? That’s right, defensive tackle, the Giants’ most pressing need after the 320 pound hole left by the departure of Jonathan Hankins. If there ever were a player to trade up for, Jonathan Allen was it.
Sure I’m biased, but do-everything safety Jabrill Peppers was still available when the Giants picked at #23 also. A top-5 talent it still remains unclear why he fell to the end of the first round (1 diluted drug test that was inconclusive…C’MON). The kid came dangerously close to winning the Heisman as a defensive player. ‘Nuff said.
If they didn’t want to go with Peppers they surely should’ve taken all-everything LB Reuben Foster out of Alabama. Another player who dropped heavily because of an inconclusive diluted drug test, teams were scared away by this tiny mishap. And no team is more scared of these petty, minuscule red flags than the New York Football Giants.
If you watched college football a season ago, even the casual fan could easily tell you players like Allen, Peppers, and Foster were generational talents on defense. We called it and questioned it before the draft kicked off, and it unfortunately rang true on draft day. Why were the players who made up the otherworldly Alabama and Michigan defenses pushed further and further back as the process went along? Both those defenses didn’t just lead the country last season, they had 2 of the best defenses in the HISTORY OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL. Guys like Allen, Peppers, and Foster in the 1st round and Chris Wormley, Tim Williams, and Jourdan Lewis in the 3rd round were incomprehensible steals at the draft spots they were selected.
While Evan Engram may not be a huge question mark as a receiver, his flaws as a traditional tight end are glaring. Maybe this wouldn’t be as hard a pill to swallow if the best and most complete tight end in the draft wasn’t taken 4 picks before Engram. Had the Giants scored O.J. Howard, an unassailable blocker in conjunction with his receiving ability, I’d be ecstatic. And yet.
True, it’s shocking that Howard dropped that far but he was still just a quick trade-up away. So instead the Giants did what they always do. Stand pat no matter the situation and grab the best player available regardless of position or draft projection. I just need “No Balls” Jerry to riddle me this: How the fuck are all 4 guys going to be on the field at the same time? I understand Coach “Benny with the Good Hair” runs the 3-wideout set more than anyone in the league (with questionable results last year). The 4-wideout set though? Not so much. Especially when you actually get that thing…what’s it called? Oh right, a lead. Time to run the ball down the other team’s throat and run some clock. Too bad a 6’3, 234 lb “tight end” may be called on to block the Von Miller’s and Luke Kuechly’s of the world. That outta really salt the game away.