NFL draft profile: No. 37 — Ole Miss TE Evan Engram, far better receiver than blocker

Ole Miss TE Evan Engram
6-foot-3, 234 pounds

Key stat: Increased his receiving totals from junior year in 2015 (38 receptions, 464 yards, two TD) dramatically to senior season in 2016 (65 receptions, 926 yards, eight TDs).

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Ole Miss’ Evan Engram is like a tight end in a receiver’s body, but he has limitations. (AP)
Ole Miss’ Evan Engram is like a tight end in a receiver’s body, but he has limitations. (AP)

The skinny: Stepped right in as a true freshman to produce, being named All-SEC in catching 21 passes for 268 yards with three TDs despite missing a month of the season with an ankle injury. Started for the next four seasons and was a productive pass catcher for the resurgent Rebels. Although his numbers dipped in 2015 with the presence of future NFL receivers Laquon Treadwell and Cody Core, Engram opted to return to school in 2016 and responded with his best season yet. Two-time team captain who is the all-time school leader in receptions (162) and receiving yards (2,320) by a tight end.

Had standout performances at the Senior Bowl and NFL scouting combine, where he finished with the best 40 time (4.41 seconds), tied for ninth among tight ends in bench press (19 reps), fifth in vertical jump (36 inches), sixth in broad jump (125 inches), second in 3-cone drill (6.92 seconds) and third in the 20-yard shuttle (4.23). Turns 23 early in his rookie season.

Best-suited destination: Any team that utilizes its tight end position — or H-back or “F” back, as it’s called in some systems — as a primary pass catcher could have use for a player with Engram’s skill set, which is that of an enlarged wideout more than an in-line player. Look at what Sean McVay (now the Los Angeles Rams’ head coach) and the Washington Redskins’ coaching staff did with Jordan Reed, and you get the idea. Teams that are willing to use “12” personnel (one back, two tight ends) with a big blocker paired up with a good pass catcher could be interested in Engram. Those teams could include the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders.

Upside: Fluid, highly athletic “move” tight end who runs crisp, clean routes. Gets out of his breaks quickly. Can attack all three levels of the field and was asked to run nearly the whole route tree in Ole Miss’ offense. Absolutely a seam threat in the NFL. Engram tracks the ball well, catches it in stride and has yards-after-catch potential. Great body control, even when passes are off-target. Big hands and ample arm length. Can go up and high-point the ball like a wide receiver, like this gem of a TD catch against Georgia:

Evan Engram can high-point the ball. ( via Youtube)
Evan Engram can high-point the ball. ( via Youtube)

Gives effort blocking on the edge and in space against corners and safeties. Noted for high character and work ethic. Four-year starter in the SEC. Has played in a lot of big games and steps up when called on.

Downside: Inconsistent hands. Will suffer concentration lapses, usually on more catchable passes. Not an in-line blocker to speak of. Can be run off his routes too easily in first five yards if defender gets his hands on Engram. Quality safeties have had success matching up with him. LSU’s Jamal Adams, a top-10 prospect, bottled him up. Perhaps not a true go-to target the way a healthy Reed is for the Redskins. Engram needs to have offense designed to his strengths and away from his weaknesses. Sometimes lets the ball come to him and doesn’t use his athletic gifts well enough. Very light, even for an H-back.

Scouting hot take: “He’s like Reed to me, without the injury history, but he’s not quite as gifted or dangerous. But it’s easy to see him being a productive pro.” — NFL offensive assistant

Player comp: Reed or former New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller.

Expected draft range: Top 50 pick

Previous profiles

mNos. 51-100: Here’s who just missed the cut
No. 50: Indiana OG-C Dan Feeney
No. 49: Iowa DB Desmond King
No. 48: Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham
No. 47: Wisconsin pass rusher T.J. Watt
No. 46. Alabama pass rusher Tim Williams
No. 45. Washington CB Sidney Jones
No. 44. Alabama LB Ryan Anderson
No. 43. Ohio State WR-RB Curtis Samuel
No. 42. Florida DT Caleb Brantley
No. 41. Connecticut DB Obi Melifonwu
No. 40. USC CB-KR Adoree’ Jackson
No. 39. Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes
No. 38. Michigan State DL Malik McDowell

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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