Giants 2021 Make or Break Players: Will Evan Engram turn things around in his contract year?

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Evan Engram Treated Image with color rush jersey
Evan Engram Treated Image with color rush jersey

NFL training camp starts at the end of the month, which means players around the league are getting their last bits of offseason work in before the real work of trying to make the roster begins.

For certain players, this season is what some may call “Make or Break,” meaning they need to put together a productive year or they could be looking for employment elsewhere at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

We’ll highlight those players for the Giants, starting with TE Evan Engram

2020 Stats (16 games)

  • 63 receptions (109 targets)

  • 654 yards (10.4 ypc)

  • 2 TD

  • 57.8 catch percentage

Why Make or Break?

The reason we’re going to start with Engram for this series is because his ordeal this season fits the description perfectly.

Engram is in the final year of his rookie contract, with the Giants picking up his fifth-year option. And despite coming off a Pro Bowl year, Engram’s season was riddled with ups and downs. The epitome of a rollercoaster campaign.

If he wants his Giants tenure to continue, Engram needs to step up this season and show more consistency at tight end. His physical skills are still tough to match up with, but his mistakes were costly in 2020.

What will break it?

More drops.

According to Pro Football Reference, Engram had 11 drops last season, which was second in the league behind Pittsburgh Steelers WR Diontae Johnson. And these were drops that made you shake your head and wonder if Daniel Jones was going to air him out in the huddle because the ball couldn’t be placed any better.

Engram has shown he can be consistent in the past, but 2020 made fans hold their breath when they saw the ball going his way. Giants brass won’t say that publicly, but when considering a new contract, that’s not what you want to see.

If balls continue to hit the chest plate without a catch, or even worse, lead to turnovers, the Giants may not be able to trust Engram moving forward and make some changes at the tight end position.

What will make it?

After his rookie season that showed tons of promise, injuries and inconsistency has plagued Engram. So, to show the Giants he deserves a new deal to remain in New York, it’s simple: Stay on the field and make plays like the first-round draft pick you are.

Engram has showcased his speed, leaping ability and play-making skill that piqued the Giants’ interest in the first place back in 2017 when he was taken 23rd overall out of Ole Miss. His blocking ability has also increased steadily since he joined the league but being a pass-catching worry for defenses is what he was brought into East Rutherford to do.

Head coach Joe Judge has defended Engram’s work ethic and drive since he joined the Giants, calling his practice reps some of the best on the team. That practice needs better results in 2020.

If that happens, expect Engram to be one of the first Giants to discuss a contract extension since he’s a homegrown product that is young and can make an impact anywhere on the field when he gets going.