Jaguars TE Evan Engram doesn't get nearly as much love as he deserves

Jaguars TE Evan Engram landed on a list of underappreciated NFl players but why? Why doesn't he get as much recognition as he deserves?
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17)  at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL Sunday, October 23, 2022.
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram (17) at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL Sunday, October 23, 2022. / Bob Self/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY

Tight end Evan Engram is coming off a career season and has become an integral piece of the Jacksonville Jaguars offense. But despite his accomplishments, the former Ole Miss Rebel isn't getting as much recognition as he deserves across the NFL. Tyler Sullivan of CBS Sports recently acknowledged it.

Sullivan put together a list of underappreciated NFL players, one for each club, and chose Engram for the Jags, going as far as saying that he's been "slept on as one of the best tight ends" in the league. Here's the skinny.

"Last season, the 29-year-old erupted with 114 receptions and 963 yards, which were both career-highs. To put Engram's season into better context, he was fourth in the league among pass-catchers in receptions behind only CeeDee Lamb, Tyreek Hill, and Amon-Ra St. Brown. While he won't be lauded for his ability as a blocker, he's shown to be a reliable pass-catching weapon at the position. "

Engram, a first-round pick in 2017, signed a one-year deal with the Jags in 2022. In his first season in Jacksonville, he shattered several team records, including yards by a tight end in a season, catches in a season by a tight end, and receiving yards in a game by a tight end.

After his breakout season, Engram wanted to get a top-market contract. Although negotiations dragged on a bit longer than they should have, he ended up getting a three-year deal worth $42.3 million. His annual average of $13.5 million ranks sixth in the league. The Georgia native proved right a way that Jacksonville made a sound investment, breaking some of the records he posted in 2022.

Engram went on to log 114 catches, two short of the franchise record for receptions in a season set by Jimmy Smith in 1999. Similarly, he had the second most catches by a tight end in a season. Zach Ertz holds the record with 116.

It's also worth noting that Engram has cut down on drops since joining the Jags. He posted drop percentage rates of 5.1 and 4.9 in 2022 and 2023, respectively. In his last two years with the G-Men, he had drop rates of 10.1 and 8.2.

Why is Jaguars TE Evan Engram underrated?

All things considered, Engram has been a difference-maker, so why isn't he getting as much recognition as his peers? For one, he's not a deep threat. While he's a dependable pass-catcher, he averaged a measly 8.4 yards per reception in 2023. For comparison, Mark Andrews, Travis Kelce, Kyle Pitts, and Dalton Schultz, Sam Laporta, Noah Fant are among the tight ends who averaged 10.0 yards or more last season.

George Kittle was on tier by himself, registering 15.7 yards per reception, which was higher that those of Tyreek Hill, Ceede Lamb, Puka Nakua, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and A.J. Brown, the top 5 leaders in receiving yards last year.

Fortunately, Engram is self-aware, so he's been working on becoming a downfield threat. Having been a security blanket for Trevor Lawrence underneath, the tight end was mostly used for short gains. He's aiming at making more explosive plays downfield.

Engram also wants to have a bigger role in the end zone and score more often. His four touchdowns in 2024 ranked 12th among tight ends.

The bottom line is that Evan Engram has become a valuable contributor for the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, he's got room for improvement. He knows it and will be working to be even better than he was in 2023.

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