Giants offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan is already working to dismiss a frequent knock on first-round pick Evan Engram’s game.
“He is not a big wide receiver,” Sullivan said Friday, the first day of the Giants’ three-day rookie minicamp.
While being a big-bodied wideout may not be such a bad thing, the implication when used in Engram’s case is often that he can’t lineup at his listed position: tight end. That, Sullivan indicated, is a myth.
“Often times people might look at him and say he’s just going to be there to be split out wide and when you think of a big wide receiver, in my mind, I think of Brandon Marshall, Plaxico Burress, that’s a big wide receiver,” Sullivan said. “He is not someone who you’ll see strictly as someone that is displaced out in the slot that is just a bigger body. He’s a versatile player, he’s a tough guy, and we’re excited about seeing what we can do with him.”
While the Giants certainly didn’t draft Engram 23rd overall for his blocking ability, Sullivan’s comments suggest they will at least try using Engram as a hand-in-the-ground tight end at times.
“This is someone who has some of that upper body strength and the size where he can fill some of those roles that we want as a tight end and we’re going to be selective in the things we want him to do,” Sullivan said.
Aligning as a traditional tight end is something Engram isn’t used to — he said it was “rare” that he put his hand in the ground while in college at Ole Miss. But he said, when told of Sullivan’s comments, that he’s up for the challenge if that is what is asked of him.
“If that’s what the O.C. says. I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help the team. If that’s in line, getting physical, then I’m going to do it,” Engram said. “If it’s out wide, being a vertical threat, I’m going to do that too.”
If the Giants can turn Engram into a player that is a speed receiving threat that still be used in-line at times, that would be critical for a Ben McAdoo offense that used a 11 personnel (one running back and one tight end) on an the overwhelming majority of plays last year.
“We can’t hold against him what he has been asked to do in a previous offense,” Ben McAdoo said when asked if he could use Engram reliably in 11 personnel. “We have to develop him as we go along and see what he can handle, see what he is comfortable with and see how we can push him to grow being comfortable and being uncomfortable and where we start and where we finish may be two different things.”
It was only one day of practice, but Engram already likes how he’s being used.
“I love it. Especially my position…how much we move around and stuff, puts the defense in binds, finding holes in the defense. It’s a great offense, it’s a lot, but I can’t wait to really learn it.”
There’s no smack talk like punter smack talk.
When Brad Wing saw a tweet from a FOX Sports Australia producer that called tryout punter Felix Menard-Briere a challenger to Wing, Big Blue’s Aussie punter wasn’t having it.
“Child please,” Wing wrote.
That could make for someone awkward conversation if Menard-Briere makes the team and the two have to spend training camp together.