EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 21: Evan Engram #88 of the New York Giants runs a drill during training camp at NY Giants Quest Diagnostics Training Center on August 21, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Evan Engram has the potential to be one of the better tight ends in the league, but he must consistently stay healthy and on the field.

Ryan Honey

He’s not the biggest, and nowhere near the strongest. But what Evan Engram possesses over a number of other tight ends in this league is pure athleticism. The speed and receiver-like qualities make the New York Giant a mismatch for a number of defensive backfields and also force his name to be a focal point in the gameplans of those specific secondaries.

Newly hired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett certainly agrees with that, having spoken on his experience coaching against him on Tuesday. Garrett faced Engram six times as the longtime head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

“He’s one of those players that was always a concern when you played him,” Garrett said during a press conference.

It’s very true — he’s definitely a concern for opponents and can continue to be that in the near and long-term future. But the thing that worries everyone is his inability to stay on the field.

Engram has evidently been injury-prone for much of his still-young NFL career. He only missed one game throughout the course of his promising rookie campaign but sat out 13 matchups combined over the following pair of seasons (five in 2018, eight in 2019). Therefore, in total, 14 regular-season games have been played in which Engram was forced to sit on the sideline — nearly an entire season.

This has caused some fans to perceive him as a disappointment and, therefore, not a consistent concern for opposing defenses.

It’s what needs to change with Engram heading into a crucial fourth season in the league. He needs to remain on the field and be that reliable weapon for the Giants and focal point of opposing defenses’ gameplans, not just for the team, but for himself as well.

You could easily say it’d be great for the organization, considering his presence in the passing game would significantly assist in Daniel Jones‘ development. Coming off of a promising rookie campaign, the 23-year-old quarterback and successor to the great Eli Manning will need as much help as he can get in order to improve in 2020, and Engram should be a noteworthy aspect of that scenario.

Having Engram be a consistent and reliable air-attack option would also take pressure off of guys like Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton and would cause secondaries to become overwhelmed.

But staying healthy and being that every-week concern for opponents will additionally be a benefit to the man himself and his future, due to the fact that if Engram undergoes another injury-ridden season, the Giants may not see a long-term marriage between them and their 2017 first-round selection.

This past offseason, the Giants exercised the fifth-year option on Engram’s rookie contract, which sets him up to be in East Rutherford through at least the 2021 campaign. But if he misses around half of the season like he did in 2020, would it even be worth keeping him for the long haul? Would it even be worth it if he were to just miss, say, four or five games?

As was said before, he definitely carries superb athletic ability and, to be completely honest, may be one of the more talented tight ends in this entire league. But if he can’t be that “concern” week-in and week-out, the end of his Giants tenure could be near.

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