The Giants are expected to take a big step forward this season after finishing 11-5 and second in the NFC East in the 2016-17 season. It ended with a 38-13 loss on the road to the Green Bay Packers in an NFC wild card game. Perhaps that stride will stretch all the way to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., site of Super Bowl LII Feb. 4.
Undoubtedly, there will be palpable confidence and a sense of purpose surrounding the Giants training camp when it commences in earnest next Friday (July 28) with an 11:40 a.m. session at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J. The practices are free and open to the general public.
A lot of eyes will be on rookie tight end Evan Engram, the Giants’ first-round pick and the 23rd overall selection in April’s NFL draft. Engram will be tasked with significantly elevating the production of a position that has been one of the Giants’ most glaring weaknesses over the past several seasons.
“We think that this guy can be a dynamic weapon in our offense,” said Jerry Reese, the Giants’ senior vice president and general manager, about Engram on draft night. “Obviously he has great speed for the position. We think that he can be a matchup nightmare for teams trying to cover him with linebackers and safeties, so he was a guy that we liked a lot.”
Reese continued, “Our coaches liked him a lot and it seems like they can use him in our offense in a lot of different ways, and we think that with this addition as a fast receiver down the middle along with some of the other receivers we have, that we can help the offense out some.”
At 6-3 and 235 pounds, the 22-year-old Engram, who like Giants quarterback Eli Manning attended the University of Mississippi, was clocked at 4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine last winter, an outstanding time for a tight end. Tight end has become one of the most integral positions in football over the past decade at both the college and the professional level.
The emergence of Engram as a versatile weapon for the Giants offense could result in the unit becoming one of the most challenging for opposing defenses to slow down. His development will be one the most covered topics as training camp draws near.