Jaguars TE Evan Engram fails to crack CBS Sports 2023 top 10 ranking

CBS Sports left Jaguars tight end Evan Engram outside the top 10 in a recent ranking
Oct 23, 2022; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) runs,
Oct 23, 2022; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) runs, / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end Evan Engram proved to be a valuable offensive weapon for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2022 after signing a one-year deal last offseason. He's back in the fold after getting the franchise tag and is ready to pick up where he left off last year, but how important is he to the Jags' success? How does he stack up against his peers?

Tyler Sullivan of CBS Sports, for one, left Engram off of his top 10 rankings, opting to include Kyle Pitts (10), David Njoku (8), and Darren Waller (6) instead. This is odd when you take into account that Engram was better than all of them. Sullivan says he took into account factors such as health and future performance when putting the list together.

Nevertheless, it seems odd not to consider Engram a top 10 tight end, especially after setting career bests for yards and receptions in 2022. Moreover, the former Ole Miss Rebel broke several franchise records and became one of Trevor Lawrence's most trusted targets down the stretch.

Travis Kelce rightfully took the top spot in Sullivan's ranking and George Kittle, after bouncing back last year, is a valid choice at No. 2. Similarly, Mark Andrews finishing third and Dallas Goedert at No. 4 are hard to argue. However, Engram has a strong case to crack the top 10.

It's true that Engram struggled with drops and wasn't particularly consistent during his five-year stint with the New York Giants but he put it all together in his first season with the Black and Teal. If Sullivan is really taking future projections into account, Engram should post similar or better numbers next season. Thus, he should've made the cut.

Other power rankings give Jaguars TE Evan Engram a more favorable spot

The silver lining is that Evan Engram has gotten a more favorable spot in other rankings. Clay Harbor of The 33rd Team placed the Jaguars tight end at No. 7 in his top 10. Similarly, Connor Orr of Sports Illustrated dubbed Engram the most underrated player in Jacksonville. Here's what Harbor had to say about Engram:

"There were times people got down on Evan Engram, a former first-round pick by the New York Giants out of Mississippi. However, he had 73 catches for 766 yards and four touchdowns last season and had a big game in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ wild-card win.

After career highs in receptions and yards, Engram added seven catches for 93 yards and a touchdown in the playoff victory against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Quarterback Trevor Lawrence looked for Engram on third down because he’s a big-play guy. Engram’s play, along with Zay Jones’ and Christian Kirk’s, is a big reason why Lawrence had such a turnaround from his rookie year. He didn’t have a tight end in 2021, and he wasn’t successful. Engram changed that in 2022."

Also, the Jaguars recognized Engram's value. Otherwise, they would have let him walk in free agency but didn't. Sure, both sides would've preferred to strike a multi-year extension — they still have until July 17 to hammer out a deal — but they are at least keeping him for one more season after using the tag on him.

All things considered, Engram is better off playing the 2023 season under the tag, as the tight-end market was devalued this offseason. Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki had to agree to one-year deals and might need to wait until next year to get long-term deals. Similarly, Engram could get a contract that pays him like a top 5 tight end if he has another good season. If that's the outcome, the Jags might have trouble meeting his demands but they will then have gotten a good season out of him at a reasonable value ($11.35 million).

While there's no doubt Sullivan should've included Engram, the consensus recognizes him as one of the top tight ends in the game right now. And if he has another banner year for the Jacksonville Jaguars, he could be one of the hottest commodities in the open market next offseason.

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