I thought for sure that the New York Giants would draft David Njoku instead of Evan Engram with the 23rd overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. After all, he had been at the top of their list since before the combine even took place, and with O.J. Howard falling all the way to Tampa Bay at 19, Njoku was the best available tight end.
My hopes that the Cedar Grove, New Jersey native would get to play close to home quickly vanished as Ole Miss tight end’s name was announced by the commissioner. I hated the pick at the time, and after sleeping on it for a night or two, those feelings remain.
At 6 feet 3 inches and weighing in at 234 pounds, the Giants practically drafted another receiver. Yes, he’s a nightmare matchup for opposing defenses, but his blocking is suspect and I doubt he can be effective in the run game at his current weight.
I understand that he makes this Giant passing attack far and away the best in football, but I’m afraid that he’s not an every down player. Engram will be tough to cover when lined up in the slot, and defensive backs will have their heads spinning with Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall all next to him, but he’ll be tough to use in the run game.
Newly acquired tight end Rhett Ellison will likely be used on run plays instead of the undersized Engram, meaning that opposing defenses will likely know ahead of time if the Giants are running or passing based on what personnel is on the field.
David Njoku is 247 pounds and has around the same speed and hands as Engram, making the Giants’ decision to pass on him shocking. He has more of an upside as a blocker in the NFL, while Engram seems to be less of a dual-threat in that capacity.
Again, it’s not an awful pick. Evan Engram is a good player, and I’m sure the Ole Miss connection between him and Eli Manning will have some success this season and beyond. I just don’t think they got the best available tight end, and Engram certainly doesn’t do anything to help that pitiful offensive line.