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PFF scouting report: Evan Engram, TE, Ole Miss

OXFORD, MS - NOVEMBER 05: Evan Engram #17 of the Mississippi Rebels runs during a game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on November 5, 2016 in Oxford, Mississippi. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

Name: Evan Engram

School: Ole Miss

Position: Tight end

Stat to know: Engram led draft-eligible tight ends with both seven touchdowns and an average of 2.61 yards per route run out of the slot.

What he does well:

  • Above-average athletically, moves fluidly.
  • Ran diverse route tree.
  • Hangs on through contact from closing defenders.
  • Does a nice job selling a fake screen block.
  • Great short burst.
  • High points the ball and has some hops.
  • Tracks ball well down field.
  • Wins hand fights down field.
  • Stretches the middle of the field, legitimate deep threat.
  • On balls thrown at least 20 yards in air in the last two seasons: 10-for-17, 337 yards, three touchdowns.

Biggest concern:

  • Struggles to box out defenders on his back, too many times he allows them through to disrupt the catch.
  • Concentration drops. Dropped seven out of 73 catchable targets in 2016.
  • Run blocking regressed from 2015 to 2016.
  • Lowers his head, lunges, as he goes to initiate contact at second level; goes in blind, defenders can evade. Does the same on wing peels.
  • Poor use of hands as both run blocker and in pass protection, too easy for defenders to shed.
  • Dives blindly on cut blocks.
  • Not asked to stay in and pass-protect much, struggled when tasked with it. Allowed five pressures on just 78 pass block attempts in 2016.

Player comparison: Thomas Duarte, Miami Dolphins

Duarte entered the draft process in a very similar position to Engram, viewed as someone in-between a wide receiver and a tight end. Duarte ended up bulking up a bit and the Dolphins drafted him as a hopeful move-tight end; and that’s ultimately what Engram’s most direct path to playing time at the NFL level is going to come as.

Bottom line: Engram has the potential to be a useful chess piece in the receiving game when matched up against cumbersome linebackers and safeties. At his size right now though NFL defenses could consider matching him up with slot-corners; and as athletic as he is, he’s not crazy athletic to the point where some of the more hybrid linebacker’s we’re seeing in the NFL will have consistent issues keeping up with him. Engram offers little as a blocker, so until he bulks up and cleans up that aspect of his game he could struggle to see the field.

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