[#FilmWithFive] Prospect Preview: TE Evan Engram

What is Evan Engram?

Is he a wide receiver?

Is he a tight end?

What round are you drafting him?

Is he strong enough? Are his hands good? Can he block?

We can talk about all of this, and answer all of these questions, my pals.

For starters, sources can confirm that he is, in fact, good at football.

He’s been one of my favorite players throughout his career at Mississippi and while he definitely looks the part, what exactly is he?

I’ve heard the Jordan Reed comparisons more than anything to this point in the process, but one “anonymous scout” (’tis the season, after all) dropped a name which I think I like even more:

“Engram, like Everett, has got to be a move or flex guy. He’s more of a true big receiver like Marques Colston. He’ll never be a point-of-attack guy but he does have outstanding receiving potential and skills.”

It was also interesting to read that that last season, before he decided to return to Ole Miss, “early feedback” tagged him as a sixth round prospect. Whoever was giving out those grades probably isn’t employed at this point but it sounds like, regardless, Evan made a wise choice returning to school. His stock continues to ascend and now, even more so, especially after a solid week at the Senior Bowl.

At the end of the day, whatever label you want to throw on him, I’m cool with it.

I just want him on my team.

Now, I’ve already profiled a certain slot wide receiver in this series and we’re going down that same path with a player in Evan Engram who can be a difference-maker (and frustrating mismatch) coming out of the slot (or anywhere on the field, really). While I think that Raiders’ GM Reggie McKenzie attempts to pull as many defenders early on in the draft as he can, there’s certainly exceptions that can be made. This offense, for as good as Derek Carr is and players like Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree can be, adding dynamic talent should always be a goal.

Evan Engram is the exception in every sense of the word. Let’s figure out why that’s the case.

We can start by crossing off one of the more popular “concerns” that surround Evan Engram and his game: his ability to block.

I was able to get my paws on four of his 2016 games (Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, and Memphis) thanks to the kind folks at Draft Breakdown. Honestly, and my fandom aside, I came away very impressed as this was a concern for me coming in as well. His game vs. Memphis (2016) was particularly impressive.

Here’s a quick rep from the Senior Bowl:

Now that we’ve (hopefully) quelled some concerns, we can move on to the fun stuff.

Above all else, Engram’s a threat. More specifically (and where I’d enjoy him the most) lining up out of the slot:

Evan Engram is clearly a specimen, showing off some of the athleticism in the next set of clips below.

What stands out the most to me is just how smooth he is in and out of his breaks; he just glides around. Being an athlete (a label that’s commonly tossed around and given to plenty of kids around this time of year), he’s easily able to accelerate and displays consistent body control. At around 235 lbs., Engram’s not necessarily the “biggest”, but the way he controls his body when attacking the ball and his ability to setup and work against defenders is impressive, and only adds to his edge.

His hands complete the package for me. In the red zone, we see him skying over defensive backs and snagging the ball out of the air. However, there are other times where he’s awkwardly struggled to come away with a contested pass. It’s frustrating, but not necessarily a deterrent, for me. Rather, just something he’s able to build on going forward.

Showing off the balance, grabbing the much-coveted YAC. Engram does it all:

Here he is, working the seam, and making things happen through some congestion in the red zone:

Showcasing a little bit of #grit with this play — working through the arm tackle and moving the chains:

Part two of moving the chains provides additional grit, and this time, a little more physicality with the shoulder being lowered. You get the idea.

All of these clips and corresponding analysis begs the question (yes, still more questions): what does this have to do with the Oakland Raiders? Where does Evan Engram fit?

The Raiders’ currently roster Mychal Rivera, Clive Walford, and Lee Smith at tight end. My guess is that Rivera walks this offseason — not necessarily a big loss, if we’re being polite. Additionally, there’s been plenty of chatter regarding Lee Smith’s future. Smith could become a quick out and a way to free up some cash for Reggie McKenzie. Personally, I still believe Smith’s a valuable asset, and remains one of the better (best?) blocking tight ends in the League. If Oakland wants to see a more productive run game in 2017, bringing back Lee Smith certainly wouldn’t hinder the situation.

That leaves us with Clive Walford.

Now, given the injury to Lee Smith, Walford’s role was completely changed in this Oakland offense and that’s unfortunate for him and fans alike. There were plenty of hints dropped last offseason that pointed to a larger role and increased production from Walford. Even with Walford still on the roster, and his “full potential” not even realized at this point, there’s no reason why McKenzie shouldn’t jump at the chance to add another talented pass-catcher to this roster. Whether it be O.J. Howard, David Njoku, or in this case, Evan Engram, you can never surround your young quarterback (and MVP candidate) with enough talent. All three players would fit here in the East Bay.


Looking specifically at Engram and the Raiders: with a strong combo (which I fully expect him to have), he could elevate himself into the first round. That’s where Oakland will have to grab him.

Obviously, in a perfect world, Evan Engram slides to the second round and hangs around until pick 56. Unfortunately, I just can’t see it shaking out like that. I think the dominoes are going to fall rather quickly, and the aforementioned top three or four tight ends will all find themselves coming off the board early.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive