Evan Engram had injuries plague his 2018 season, but he's back to reverse course this season. Can he make a leap in Year 3? Here's a closer look at what to expect in training camp for the tight ends...
Projected Starters: Evan Engram
Projected Backups: Rhett Ellison
On the Bubble: Garrett Dickerson, Scott Simonson, CJ Conrad
Engram's rookie season left many Giants fans excited to see what he could do in Year 2. He had totaled 722 yards on 64 receptions, and Eli Manning found confidence in the 23-year-old when Odell Beckham Jr. went down for the season after Week 4. He also had six touchdowns.
But Engram's sophomore campaign wasn't what he had hoped for. Injuries didn't allow him to get in the groove, playing in only 11 games with eight starts on the year. He still managed 577 yards on 45 receptions with three touchdowns thanks to a strong finish to the year. In Week 16, he had 113 yards from scrimmage and he followed that up with 81 yards and a touchdown in Week 17 against the Cowboys.
Knowing Engram wasn't that stout of a blocker, though, GM Dave Gettleman dipped into the free agency pool to nab Ellison on a four-year, $18 million deal. He played a major role in that area, adding a good blocking presence to the line. And he even collected 25 receptions on 34 targets for 272 yards and one touchdown.
Simonson also saw time in all 16 games, but only had nine catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.
Biggest question heading into camp
With Beckham gone, many have wondered if the Giants can make their new deep threat Engram instead of using a wide receiver. On numerous occasions, Engram has flashed that 4.4 speed he possesses, and his ability to go up and get the ball with his 6-foot-3 frame. Touted as the fastest tight end in the league, the Ole Miss product is a nightmare for a linebacker to matchup with given his abilities.
Shurmur should be sending Engram down the field with the chance to make that big play for the Giants. Of course, Engram must be able to stay on the field to do so. He doesn't want a repeat of last season, where just as he was about to settle in, he was back on the IR.
Like Sterling Shepard, Engram has a chance this season to step up in a big way with Beckham's production out of the cards. It's Year 3 for him, so expect him to be locked in right from the start of camp.
This unit goes as Engram goes. Ellison will get his reps in mostly in running schemes, but when it's time for Manning to drop back, Engram will be up on the line or in the slot.
The Giants can use Engram in a variety of different ways, even flipping the ball to him for handoffs three times last season. His versatility is limitless for Big Blue, and Shurmur should be exploiting that more in his second season as head coach.
Simonson will have the upper hand over Dickerson and Conrad entering camp, but we all know how preseason injuries can affect a depth chart.
Engram's development this summer, though, will be the main thing to watch for this position group. And hopefully we can see a healthy No. 88 take the field in Week 1, ready to do damage he missed out on in 2018.