TE Evan Engram named perfect fit for Jaguars ‘roster reconstruction’

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88). (Imagn Images photo pool)
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88). (Imagn Images photo pool) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars ranked last in points scored last season, so it wasn’t surprising to see them go into a shopping spree this offseason. Besides signing wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, the Jags also acquired former New York Giants tight end Evan Engram, who will give their offense a big-bodied target.

Analyst Bucky Brooks of NFL Media recently drew up a list of five perfect fits for NFL roster reconstruction and Engram was one of the players who made the cut. Broos notes that Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson has a history of working with “blue-chip tight ends” and knows the “value of having a dominant playmaker in the middle of the field“.  Brooks believes Jacksonville now has a jumbo slot receiver in Engram.

"Although injuries and dropsies have impacted Engram’s production, the one-time Pro Bowler is a matchup advantage as a “jumbo” slot receiver with NBA power forward size and sprinter’s speed. He has the capacity to align anywhere within the formation to dictate coverage or exploit a favorable matchup. Given Engram’s skills and how Pederson traditionally utilizes the tight end, the Jaguars’ new “Y” will make some fantasy owners happy when his numbers explode in 2022."

A first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Engram signed a one-year deal worth up to $10 million with the Jaguars this offseason. Over the last five seasons, he’s hauled in 262 receptions for 2,828 yards with 16 touchdowns. Last season, the Jaguars didn’t get much production from their tight end position in spite of all the resources they invested in it, posting a combined 74 receptions for 750 yards with two touchdowns.

Evan Engram and the Jaguars can mutually benefit in 2022.

Engram hasn’t played at a Pro Bowl level but he hasn’t had superb quarterback play either. Early in his NFL career, he caught passes from an aging Eli Manning and Daniel Jones wasn’t much of an upgrade the last three years. The tight end hasn’t had a true breakout season but he will get a shot to get one in Jacksonville.

As Brooks noted, Pederson has a history of enjoying superb tight end play. As the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator, he had Travis Kelce. And as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, he had Zach Ertz and later Dallas Goedert. Both Kelce and Ertz had Pro Bowl campaigns under Pederson, so it’s not unrealistic to expect Engram to follow suit.

Engram should be incentivized to have a banner season in Jacksonville, as he will have a shot at getting a multi-year deal from the Jaguars or someone else in 2023 if he performs at a high level. Similarly, the team’s brass won’t mind giving the tight end a salary bump next offseason if he exceeds expectations.

The Jaguars believe Trevor Lawrence is the long-term answer at quarterback and to ensure he has success, they are surrounding him with as many weapons as possible. Engram should help him make a leap in Year 2.

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