The Giant Insider Online

Engram hopes to eliminate drops this season

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram came into the NFL last year with high hopes and expectations. He had the size to play both the position as a traditional tight end but also possessed the traits to become a split end as well.

As a rookie, his numbers were very respectable, finishing with 64 receptions (seven in the red zone) for 722 receiving yards and six touchdowns. He gained 449 yards through the air and another 273 after the catch.

Engram was the first NFC rookie tight end with 400 or more receiving yards and four or more touchdowns through the first eight games of the season since 1970 and had three consecutive games with four or more receptions with 50 or more receiving yards and at least one touchdown, another rookie record.

His performance was good enough to get him named to the PFWA’s All-Rookie Team but the No. 18 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft was not totally satisfied.

He had 11 drops, the most by a TE since 2012 (Seattle’s Jimmy Graham had 15), some of which were more noticeable than others, and they contributed to cutting his catch rate to 55% from a possible 75% last year. That is something Engram wants to clean up as he moves into his second season. This spring at OTAs and minicamp, he was actively conscious of the drops and took steps to rectify the glaring shortcoming.

“That was just a mindset thing. I wanted to have zero drops all spring,” Engram said, per Dan Duggan of The Athletic. “I knew what I was doing wrong. I knew how to fix it. I knew how to improve on it. So it was just a learning experience. I have the utmost confidence in myself.

“You get in the groove and then you start wanting to make moves after the catch and start getting a little bit too confident and a little bit too comfortable. Stuff like that kind of needs to happen for us as players to be able to take a step back like, ‘OK, let me get back to where it all started.’ ”

Engram will still be used as an ‘in-line’ tight end on some plays but the Giants want to take advantage of his size/speed combination and get him more involved in the mid-to-deep range passing game.

In his second season, Engram should build on his strong rookie campaign. Last year, by admission, he was a bit overwhelmed. That’s not going to be the case this summer.

“The thing I’ve noticed, just being out here, going full-speed, is that the game is a lot more slowed down,” said Engram. “The game has slowed down a lot. And that’s allowing me to kind of dig deeper into my bag of route techniques, or getting open and being able to focus more on the run game and getting stronger and just getting more comfortable out there. Last year, I kind of was, head was on a swivel a lot, the game was so fast and I wasn’t used to it.

“But just having a year under my belt and kind of getting thrown into some tough situations last year definitely helps slow the game down and allowed me to kind of focus on a lot of the little things and enhance my talents to be a better player.”

That starts by hanging onto the football and making the most out of his targets. If he does that, the sky’s the limit.

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