Evan Michael Engram was born and raised in Powder Springs, Georgia and will be 26 years old prior to the start of the season. Engram attended Ole Miss and accumulated 162 catches for 2,320 yards with an impressive 14.3 yard per catch average. while adding 15 touchdowns.
Engram’s senior season earned him the Cornely trophy, as the best college football player in the state of Mississippi. Engram was ranked as the third best tight end prospect in the 2017 Draft and was selected with the 23rd pick in the first round by the New York Giants. Engram was chosen after O.J. Howard as the second tight end off the board.
Engram’s rookie season in 2017 was filled with ups and downs but he would finish 722 yards on 64 receptions including six touchdowns in 15 games. He would start in 11 of those 15 contests. However, he did suffer a concussion in week two but managed to clear the protocol without missing a game. Engram suffered bruised ribs late in Week 16 and was held out of action for the Week 17 game as a precaution.
Engram would suffer another concussion in the 2018 preseason, and he followed this up with a subpar second season. Engram compiled 45 catches for 577 yards and only three scores. Engram only played in 11 games this season due to a combination of knee and foot injury.
The injury occured to his right knee after a player hit the outside of his knee with their helmet. Traditionally this causes an injury to the MCL, which is the ligament that runs north-south on the inside of the knee. The injury is common for football players as a result of being tackled at the knees. These injuries range in severity from a grade 1, mild sprain, to a grade 3 which is a full thickness tear.
Engram missed the next three games, which traditionally translates to a grade 2 injury. Grade 3s almost always require surgery and with grade 1s, traditionally players can play through them, or they only miss a single game.
One of the main issues with MCL sprain is that they have a tendency to easily re-injure, because the ligament is no longer as strong or flexible as it originally was, and is predominately healed with scar tissue. These injuries do not heal very well and he is prone to suffering repeated MCL sprain of the right knee going forward.
Last season, Engram in just eight games tallied 44 receptions for 467 yards and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, he missed eight games after suffering a foot injury.
Engram’s most severe injury to date occurred in Week 9, I discussed it here. Engram suffered the dreaded LisFranc sprain; which is a sprain of the middle of the foot. These injuries are always frustrating and even the mildest is severe.
Traditionally players take anywhere from as little as four weeks, and as long as several months depending on whether or not surgical stabilization as needed. As you may remember with Cam Newton who suffered the injury early in the 2019 season and ended his entire season after failing rehabilitation and requiring surgery. Unfortunately this is a common theme with LisFranc injuries.
Engram gave it over five weeks to heal his foot, but it was simply not improving to the point where he could be effective on the playing field. Therefore his season was cut short. Engram would have surgery on the LisFranc tear in December cutting his season prematurely and placing him on injured reserve. Surgery traditionally takes approximately at least 10 weeks to return to running, sometimes much longer.
Let’s briefly discuss the Lisfranc injury, as this will not be the last time you hear about them. The LisFranc complex is a ligament that weaves in between each of the main bones in the middle of the foot. Think of it as serving as the strength at the top of a bridge, where the hill is one side of the bridge and the toes are the other. Without a stable arch, which is what the Lisfranc serves as, the foot is not able to function properly. The injury, if not adequately treated may lead to chronic pain and loss of function.
Studies of athletes who suffered from a LisFranc injury and underwent surgical screw placement mostly did well. 80% return to sport with an average of 29 weeks. They estimated their average value of 87% of pre-injury level of play. About 67% of the athletes complained of occasional pain with playing, with an average pain level of 4 out of 10. With LisFranc injuries, simple walking is challenging, and running is nearly impossible. Here’s more info on LisFranc injuries.
Red flags are an understatement here, as Engram’s short career has been marred with injuries. He has missed 30% of the games of his NFL career, 14 of a possible 48 games. He has been a major health liability in each of the past two seasons. He is one of the top pass catching tight ends when healthy and a true TE1, but the key word is healthy.
The Giants must feel confident enough in Engram to pick-up his fifth year option, and he won't be cut due to injury. As long as Engram can be healthy he is a major part of the offense and should see many targets in Jason Garrett’s offense.
Garrett will employ an “Air Coryell” offense or at least sections of it. This offense relies on the speed of the receivers and their ability to run routes sharply and to get to certain points on the field. This allows for chunk yards and touchdowns, but also an overload of turnovers.
Engram can benefit from this scheme. He has above-average speed and can run the intermediate and deep routes. Garrett should put him in maximizing positions aligning him at various positions on the line and setting him in motion.
The offensive line is mediocre at best, and will have at least one new starter with Andrew Thomas being drafted out of Georgia with their fourth overall selection in the first round. He will play right tackle, but they could also move him to left. Thomas playing left would force Nate Solder to the right side of the line. This may be best for Daniel Jones’ health, as Solder allowed 57 pressures, which is seven more than any other player. Kevin Zeitler is a proven guard at both the run and the pass. The duo allowed a total of 97 pressures for the most in the league.
The major core is returning. Golden Tate, Sterling Shepherd, and Dairus Slayton are role players and benefit each other. There will be no pressures on Garrett to get the ball continuously to any of these wide receivers. The pressure will come in the form of Saquon Barkley. The ball should be spread around quite well for Engram when the Giants are not running the pigskin.
Engram should continue to thrive and is easily in the TE5 group. The problems are injuries.
Unfortunately given the combination of multiple knee injuries, concussions, hamstring strain, and now a very severe foot injury, it would likely be in your best interest to avoid Engram unless he is at a significant discount. There are certain players every year that scream ‘avoid’ to me, secondary to the injury history, and this year Evan Engram falls into that category.
Engram has shown flashes of extreme upside but unfortunately has not been able to stay very healthy. In each of his three years in the NFL he has played in fewer games each year, with 15 and 2017, 11 and 2018 and only eight in 2019.
Sports Injury Predictor calculates that Engram has a 59.9% chance of injury in 2020 , which is the 4th highest risk score at the TE position. This translates to 5.5% chance of injury per game and expects him to miss 2.4 games in 2020, less than ideal.
Engram’s risk score falls into the high category for me, an 8 out of 10. At this high of a level, I (Dr. Morse) will likely not draft him at his cost unless he falls into the final few rounds, which is unlikely. I advise you to do the same, and when you see him go down and miss at least 3-4 games in the 2020 season, you can chuckle and thank me then.
Evan Engram hasn’t shown to be reliable in the health department, but when on the field he is a TE1. Engram has finished as TE5, 13, and 18 since 2017 so the trajectory is going downward. Start shopping for Engram at TE8 and begin buying at TE10.
Injury Risk: High. 8/10.
|Projected Missed||Probability of injury per game ?||Probablity of injury in the season ?|
|Nov 4, 2019||Pedal Foot Sprain||Engram missed the rest of the season as he was never able to move past the left foot injury after he first sprained it in a Nov. 4 loss to the Cowboys|
|Oct 6, 2019||Knee MCL Pull Grade 1||Engram missed one game against the Patriots with a sprained MCL on his right knee.|
|Nov 25, 2018||Thigh Hamstring Sprain/Pull Unspecified Grade 1||Engram felt his hamstring "pull" in pregame warm-ups and didn't play against the Eagles (though he was active). He missed the next game as well.|
|Sep 23, 2018||Knee MCL Sprain Grade 2||Engram sprained his right MCL on a helmet hit from a defender. He missed the next 3 games.|
|Aug 24, 2018||Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1||Engram sustained a concussion in the Giants' 3rd preseason game.|
|Dec 24, 2017||Chest Rib Bruise||Engram incurred bruised ribs late in Week 16 action. He was held out of Week 17 as a precaution.|
|Sep 18, 2017||Head Cranial Concussion Grade 1||Engram entered concussion protocol after taking a hit in Week 2. He didn't miss any time.|