Rhett Ellison insists there is more to Evan Engram’s makeup than the expertise that has inspired his rise as a key receiving weapon for the New York Giants.
Second-year tight end Evan Engram arrived in East Rutherford with a reputation boasting a fierce vertical threat as something of a compensation for inferior blocking.
Offering physicality in protection of Eli Manning on the line of scrimmage barely brushed the edges of his rookie expectations and responsibilities.
That’s not, however, to say the 23-year-old isn’t capable of aiding his offensive lineman.
Ellison believes his teammate deserves greater credit for his ability in the gritty side of a tight end’s job.
“I think a lot of people underrate Evan as a complete tight end,” he told 247sports.
“When you watch him block and pass protect, he’s just as good as the next guy. Don’t underestimate his completeness as a tight end. A lot of guys try to put him as a receiving tight end.”
“He’s not a receiving tight end — he’s the whole thing. He’s a special kid. Since day one he’s been one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever been around.”
Engram has glistened with consistency throughout training camp amid a period where the Giants’ offensive scope has often been occupied elsewhere on the team.
The Mississippi product has continued his development in less-coveted circumstances thanks to the introduction of Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr.’s uncontested offseason storylines.
An injury-stricken 2017 season for the Giants offense paved the way for Engram to showcase his elite potential as a versatile dimension to Big Blue.
Sixty-four receptions for 722 yards and six touchdowns entailed a striking quickness and agility across the field, as well as an initiative to get open as his quarterback’s favorable target within a depleted receiving corps.
The Giants’ bolstered potency in both run and pass options in 2018 could see Engram endure more regular tests of his blocking.
In a dynamic scheme under new head coach Pat Shurmur, Engram may also benefit from opposition defenses devoting close attention to the likes of Beckham Jr, Barkley and even Sterling Shepard.