The New England Patriots need to improve their skill position players. New England’s wide receivers and tight ends are arguably the worst in the league, and Cam Newton will need more help if he’s to guide this team to a deep playoff run. Tight end Evan Engram might not be able to singlehandedly fix New England’s pass-catching woes, but he’d be a great addition to the roster.
New England Patriots Tight End Trade Targets: Evan Engram
If acquired, Evan Engram would immediately be the best tight end on the roster. While he’s nothing special as a blocker, the former first-round pick has flashed the ability to be a difference-maker in the open field. Through his first three seasons, Engram averaged a 16-game pace of 72 receptions for 831 yards and six touchdowns.
From a pure athleticism standpoint, Engram has the potential to be one of the best tight ends in football. During the 2017 NFL Combine, Engram tested exceptionally well in the 20-yard dash, 3-cone drill, broad jump, vertical jump, and 40-yard dash. He’s proven to be a solid tight end at the NFL level, and his athletic profile gives him a massive ceiling if Bill Belichick can bring out the best in him.
The biggest red flag with Engram is his injury history. Through the first three years of his career, Engram has yet to play a full season. While he managed to play 15 games as a rookie, his recent health ailments are cause for concern. However, Belichick historically is willing to roll the dice and buy low on talented players with injury history. Considering the presumably low cost for his services, this shouldn’t be enough to deter the Patriots from making a move.
Are Engram’s Poor 2020 Numbers Worrisome?
To date, Evan Engram has not had a good season. Through six games, Engram has recorded just 20 receptions for 177 yards. His 8.9 yards-per-reception is the lowest of his career and he has yet to find the endzone as a receiver. However, a deeper dive shows that most of the problem lies with New York’s offense, and not Engram himself.
First-year offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is not doing a great job in New York. Under his reign, the Giants have one of the worst offenses by just about every metric. While some of this has to do with the underwhelming group of talent, Garrett’s overall decision-making leaves a lot to be desired.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Engram’s 5.1 average targeted air yards are the fourth-lowest mark in the league, and the lowest among tight ends. For all intents and purposes, Garrett is using Engram the same way he used Jason Witten during his final years in Dallas. This is absolutely criminal for a tight end with Engram’s speed, and it’s a mistake Josh McDaniels will not make.
Given proper usage, Engram still has what it takes to be an above-average receiving tight end. Considering New England’s current state at the position and the presumably cheap cost to acquire Engram, this should be a no-brainer for the Patriots.
Embed from Getty Images