Giants pick up fifth-year options on TE Evan Engram and Safety Jabrill Peppers— New York Giants (@Giants) April 30, 2020
No. 88, who was selected with the 23rd overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, has established himself as high-priority weapon in the Giants offense. Despite missing some time in each of his three seasons due to minor injuries, Engram has racked up 1,766 yards and 12 touchdowns on 153 catches in 34 games played. He has already broken 22 Giants records, and joined tight end legend Jeremy Shockey in the team’s record books. As a rookie, the Georgia native broke or tied seven NFL records and joined Mike Ditka with the most games with four or more receptions, 45 or more receiving yards, and a touchdown in the first eight games of the season by a rookie tight end.
NFL organizations are able to exercise a first-round draft choice’s fifth-year option after three seasons, extending his four-year rookie contract to five seasons. While this rule pigeonholes the player in some aspects, keeping him from renegotiating or exploring the free agency market, it guarantees salary in case of unforeseen injury or circumstance and recognizes top-tier talent.
The Giants know they found a good one and don’t want to let him go. Let’s hop in our Red Cup time machine and re-live some of Eazy E’s best moments throughout the years.
New York Giants
Engram’s first career start came in New York’s 2017 season-opener against the Dallas Cowboys and he made four catches for 44 yards. He scored his first NFL touchdown a week later on Monday night against the Lions.
His production remained consistent over the next nine games and he averaged four receptions for 9.27 yards per catch per game. Against the Rams, in only his ninth game on the professional level, Engram put up a casual 70 yards and a scored a touchdown that made Dominque Hatfield look like a scared little boy.
His season-high for receiving came against the Raiders in Week 13 and fell one yard short of his first 100-yard game. The Giants lost and head coach Ben McAdoo was fired after the game, but Engram made a ridiculous one-handed grab that made Geno Smith throwing into double coverage look like good idea. That’s saying something.
WATCH: Evan Engram makes a one-handed catch late in the game pic.twitter.com/PKmGSDDJZC— New York Giants (@Giants) December 4, 2017
Engram put the league on notice in his first year and was poised for a breakout season in 2018. That was made clear immediately when Eli Manning started throwing his way in camp.
When he got to the league, the haters pointed to his size and his lack of physicality at the line of scrimmage. Engram has silenced the doubt with consistent results and came out of the gates swinging in week one. Watch as he blows up the blitzing end, breaks on the out route, gets to the edge and lays out for a first down.
His athletic feats did not stop there. The middle of his second season was hindered by a leg injury, but his production skyrocketed when he returned late in the year with five consecutive games over 65 yards receiving.
The Giants finished with a losing record, but Engram soared into his third season on a high note.
Skyrocketed... soared... get it?
Prior to his season-ending injury in 2019, Engram was on pace for 778 yards on the year and finished with 467 receiving yards on 44 catches in eight games. His best game came to open the year against the Cowboys, and he followed it up two weeks later with 113 yards and a touchdown on six catches against the Buccaneers. For whatever reason, Engram seems to feast on the Tampa Bay defense and always adds acrobatics to the box score.
Daniel Jones also found him for his first NFL touchdown pass that began the comeback against Tampa Bay. Engram found space and took off.
He also manhandled a safety in the open field. By law, Engram is now his father.
Now, entering his fourth year, Engram is poised to explode as one of Jones’ top targets in an offense that is not particularly deep at the receiving position. He and Cody Core will look to show out for the Rebels at the Meadowlands.
Hillgrove High School
The thing is, Eazy Engram has been saucing up opposing coverages since high school, but he was only listed as a 3-star recruit and the No. 22 tight end in the nation when Ole Miss signed him. He hauled in 40 catches for 975 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior in high school and was named first team All-State as a senior by the Georgia Sportswriters Association and the Associated Press.
It was a clear oversight by the all-knowing, holier-than-thou recruiting analysts, and his highlight tape speaks to that notion.
When Engram got to Ole Miss in 2013, he was an immediate impact player. He played in eight games with six starts at tight end and finished with 21 catches for 268 and three touchdowns before he sprained his ankle against LSU in October and missed the remainder of the regular season. Nevertheless, he was an Second Team All-SEC selection and became one of the first two true freshmen in school history (along with Laremy Tunsil) to be named All-SEC.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound sophomore saw his breakout moment come in 2014 when he posted five catches for a career-high 176 yards against Mississippi State. There were two instances where he was dragged down inside the three-yard-line, so count him down for two shadow touchdowns as well.
It was clear after the 2014 Egg Bowl that Engram was going to be a real problem as an upperclassman. And he was.
His junior season saw consistent production and he brought in 38 catches for 464 yards and two touchdowns. The highlight, however, came at the most important moment when he caught a game-high six passes for a game-high 96 yards in Ole Miss’ iconic win over Oklahoma State in the 2015-16 Sugar Bowl. His athleticism was on display and the Pokes didn’t have an answer.
He was rated the nation’s top tight end by Lindy’s Sports after the season and carried that momentum into a senior season that put his name on the map. The Rebels were one of the hottest teams in the country and ranked No. 11 in the country to begin 2016. They opened the season with No. 4 Florida State and Engram had himself a day, with nine catches for 121 yards and a touchdown.
The momentum kept rolling and two games later, he recorded a career-high 138 yards and a touchdown against No. 1 Alabama. His big-game mentality shined through, and his 4.42 second 40-yard dash speed was on display. Yes, he ran a 4.42 forty as a tight end.
Engram fell five yards short of back-to-back 100-yard games the next week against No. 12 Georgia but went up and brought down a ridiculous touchdown with a defender in his face anyway.
He did record his third 100+ yard game against Arkansas and sealed the highlight with a grown-ass man touchdown that put the Hog defenders to pasture.
As his NFL stock rose infinitely, Engram showed he could keep up the production against talent both big and small. When he faced non-Power-5 conference foes, it wasn’t even fair.
Though the Rebels fell off toward the end of the season after Shea ‘Canadian Tuxedo’ Patterson took over for Chad Kelly, Engram capped off an incredible season with a 102-yard game against Vanderbilt. He made a bobbling circus touchdown snag for good measure.
Engram went for 926 yards in his senior season and is Ole Miss’ leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches by a tight end. He was the first player in school history to earn All-SEC honors four times and became the 22nd first round draft pick out of Oxford.
As of this week, the Giants have their franchise tight end locked in for at least two more seasons. Good call, Mr. Gettleman.