EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – The New York Giants got a tight end and a deep threat in one package in the NFL draft.
In another move to revive their anemic offense, the Giants selected speedy Mississippi tight end Evan Engram with the 23rd pick overall Thursday.
The All-American had a breakout senior season, catching 65 passes for 926 yards and eight touchdowns. He opened eyes at the NFL combine, running a 4.42 second, 40-yard dash, one of the fastest times by any wide receiver or tight end.
His speed should help Eli Manning beat the two-high safety coverage that gave New York’s offense problems last season.
“We think this guy can be a dynamic weapon in our offense,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “Obviously, he had great speed for his position. We think he can be a matchup nightmare for teams trying to guard him with a linebacker or a safety.”
The last time the Giants used a first-round pick to take a tight end in the draft was 2002, when they took Jeremy Shockey.
Engram isn’t your old fashioned tight end. He is more an H-back who can line up in the backfield, in the slot, out wide and even at the standard spot beside the tackle.
The Giants have struggled at tight end in recent seasons, relying on free agents Will Tye and Larry Donnell to carry the load. Tye led the tight ends last season with 48 catches for 395 yards and one touchdown.
Reese said Engram reminded him of Redskins tight end Jordan Reed.
“We see him as a weapon and we’ll take all the weapons we can get,” Reese said.
The Giants now have a lot of weapons for Manning with Odell Beckham Jr., free agent wideout Brandon Marshall and second-year receiver Sterling Shepard to go along with Engram.