Evan Engram is persistently the fourth tight finish off the board in fantasy drafts, however there is a huge hole between him and the top-tier of Travis Kelce (14.eight ADP, $40.7 common public sale worth), Zach Ertz (27.zero ADP, $27.7 AAV) and George Kittle (29.1 ADP, $26.7 AAV). Engram’s ADP of 53.Four and AAV of $7.9 lag nicely into the following tier, which incorporates O.J. Howard (65.7 ADP, $6.2 AAV) and Hunter Henry (68.5 ADP, $5.eight AAV). The overall draft technique for this season, with regard to tight ends, has been to both decide one of many top-three tight ends early or wait and draft a decent finish a lot afterward.

Is that this an correct valuation of Engram? Is he merely the very best of the draft-me-later tight ends? Or ought to he, as a substitute, be the fourth member of the highest tier and thus a giant worth as a mid-round decide? Let’s discover.

Engram was a first-round decide within the 2017 NFL draft, and only four tight ends throughout the previous decade produced extra receiving yards throughout their first two NFL seasons than Engram’s 1,299 (Kittle, Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham and Aaron Hernandez). And that is regardless of Engram lacking six full video games throughout that stretch as a consequence of damage.

A better have a look at the primary two seasons of these 4 tight ends reveals a definite sample of a stable rookie season (common 15 video games performed, 40.Three receptions, 495 yards) adopted by a monster sophomore marketing campaign (common 15.5 video games performed, 89 receptions, 1,231 yards). Engram’s rookie season truly in contrast very favorably, as he grabbed 64 receptions for 722 yards in 15 video games. Nevertheless, his numbers regressed as a sophomore, as he notched solely 45 catches for 577 yards in 11 video games. What occurred?

Two main elements: accidents and Odell Beckham Jr.

Engram fought accidents for a lot of the 2018 season, lastly getting wholesome for the ultimate month of the season. That month occurred to coincide with Beckham sitting out. Listed here are Engram’s splits from the primary three months of the season with Beckham versus from the ultimate month of the season with out him:

First three months: 7 video games, 23 receptions, 257 yards (3.Three receptions, 36.7 yards per sport)
Remaining month: Four video games, 22 receptions, 320 yards (5.5 receptions, 80.zero yards per sport)

Whereas a month is a small pattern dimension, it’s value nothing that Engram’s wholesome sophomore month sans Beckham had him on a 15.5-game tempo of 85 receptions for 1,240 yards, far more in-line with the 89 receptions and 1,231 yards over 15.5 video games averaged by Kittle, Gronk, Graham and Hernandez as sophomores.

And I do not know should you heard, however the Giants traded Beckham to the Browns this offseason. This is able to have already been cause for optimism that Engram may be in line for a breakout, however then, instantly after camp opened, Corey Coleman tore his ACL, Sterling Shepard broke his thumb and Golden Tate was suspended for the primary 4 video games of the season for violating the league’s banned substance coverage. The Giants responded to that sudden lack of broad receiver expertise by signing unheralded free brokers T.J. Jones and Amba Etta-Tawo as a substitute of more-accomplished out there choices.

All of a sudden, the Giants may presumably begin the season with just one participant on the roster apart from Engram who produced greater than 25 receptions final season. Whereas Saquon Barkley is an effective guess to construct on his 91-reception rookie season, the Giants will completely should depend on Engram as a major receiver.

Even after Shepard and Tate return, the Giants will want a No. 1 downfield menace. Shepard and Tate have had most of their success within the slot and using shiftiness to work beneath. The Giants used Engram primarily beneath final season as nicely, as his common goal got here 4.9 yards down the sector per NFL Subsequent Gen Stats (24th amongst tight ends with a minimum of 30 targets).

Nevertheless, Engram has freakish 4.42 pace at 6-foot-3, 245 kilos that makes him both too quick or too huge for many defenders to stick with on deeper routes. Giants coach Pat Shurmur has hinted that Engram may see extra motion on the skin, saying this week, “I believe he is obtained broad receiver traits,” and “we truly use him in a indifferent function, or what would look like a large receiver function.”

The largest query mark for Engram coming into this season appears to be his skill to remain wholesome. As ESPN NFL Nation Giants reporter Jordan Raanan famous, the Giants had been already managing Engram’s workload on the second day of coaching camp. This after he sat out all 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills throughout June minicamp. In fact, whereas this does converse to Engram’s damage danger, it additionally may very well be taken as a optimistic for Engram’s potential that the workforce is doing all that it will possibly to make sure that he stays wholesome and primed for the upcoming season.

Engram’s 2019 worth

The Giants will enter the season with main receiving holes. The very best particular person to fill these holes is already on the roster, a first-round decide from two years in the past whose distinctive mix of dimension and pace make him a perfect downfield menace. Engram’s manufacturing throughout his first two seasons compares favorably with the best tight ends within the NFL over the previous decade, and he has demonstrated the flexibility to place up monster numbers when wholesome and taking part in with out the since-departed Odell Beckham. Add in accidents and suspensions which have the Giants presently going through the beginning of the common season with out their prime three broad receivers, and Engram seems to be poised for an explosive season if he can keep wholesome.

Whereas Kelce, Ertz and Kittle have the confirmed monitor file to help their standing as an elite tier of their very own, Engram completely has the upside to hitch that tier this season. And whereas I might take these huge three tight ends over Engram straight up, by way of draft worth I would moderately have Engram within the sixth spherical than a kind of others within the second. In truth, Engram may simply be the very best mixture of worth and upside on the tight finish place in fantasy drafts this season.