Jaguars TE Evan Engram named bounce-back candidate for 2022

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram #17 and Trevor Lawrence #1 at TIAA Bank Field. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram #17 and Trevor Lawrence #1 at TIAA Bank Field. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union] /

The Jacksonville Jaguars are counting on tight end Evan Engram to give their offense a boost in 2022. The former first-round pick showed flashes during his five-year stint with the New York Giants but also a propensity to make mistakes. The Pro Football Focus crew took a look at what went wrong with Engram last year and why he could have a bounce-back year in 2022.

PFF points out that the Giants didn’t get much production from the quarterback position once Daniel Jones went down with injury in Week 12. They note that their quarterbacks completed 49 percent of their passes for 805 yards, four touchdowns, and 11 interceptions during the last six weeks of the 2021 season, and no player is going to thrive in those circumstances.

So how can Engram exactly bounce back in 2022? PFF reached out to Michael DiRocco of ESPN, one of the most respected voices when it comes to covering the Jaguars. DiRocco says that the veteran tight end should thrive with Trevor Lawrence throwing passes to him and Doug Pederson designing plays that take advantage of his skill set.

"Engram has been heavily targeted in camp, and Trevor Lawrence already seems to have developed good-on-field chemistry with him. The Jaguars are moving Engram around the formation to get matchups they can exploit, including putting him in the slot at times. Plus, Engram is playing for a coach in Doug Pederson who likes using tight ends in his offense. It would be a surprise if Engram caught fewer than 50 passes."

A first-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, Engram signed a one-year deal worth $9 million in free agency. He has averaged 52 receptions per season in New York, so DiRocco’s projection seems reasonable.

The Jaguars are counting on Evan Engram to be a big part of the offense

Engram has been solid throughout his NFL and hasn’t truly had a breakout year but PFF probably sees him as a bounce-back candidate because he made the Pro Bowl in 2020 and caught 17 fewer passes last year.

Tight end was one of the Jaguars’ biggest needs in the offseason and Engram was the best one available in free agency, so it made sense to sign him. He had a few drops early in training camp but has been better in recent days. Not only ago, Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor met with the local media and talked about the impact Engram had on offense due to his speed and well-rounded skill set.

As DiRocco noted, Doug Pederson likes to get his tight ends involved, and that was evident against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 of the preseason, when Trevor Lawrence connected with Engram for a nine-yard receiving touchdown, the only one Jacksonville scored that game.

Engram’s touchdown against the Browns was just one sample of what he has to offer. Expect him to get plenty of work against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2. While Engram might have a hard time making the Pro Bowl, he should see an uptick in production in Jacksonville this upcoming season.

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