With first round on his mind, former Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram eagerly awaits NFL future

Published 5:45 pm Monday, April 3, 2017

Evan Engram believes he’s done enough to be one of the first 32 players taken in the NFL Draft later this month, but the former Ole Miss tight end is still weeks away from finding out if he’s right.

“I believe I’m a first-round pick,” Engram said.

Engram’s latest opportunity to make his case to NFL scouts and personnel came at Ole Miss’ pro day Monday, a day Engram called “pretty chill” after going through a lighter workout than most. Engram didn’t take part in any of the testing drills since he was satisfied with the numbers he posted at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis in February, particularly that 4.42-second 40-yard dash that put to rest any concerns about his speed.

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He caught passes and went through blocking drills with some of the tight end coaches in attendance. Engram said he’ll soon hit the road for visits with the Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams while the Arizona Cardinals may put him through a private workout in Oxford.

The waiting is quickly becoming the hardest part.

“I’ve been really patient, but it’s starting to run out,” Engram said. “Just ready to see where I’m going and seeing who’s interested but just enjoying the process as well.”

Whether it’s as a tight end or a slot receiver, teams know catching the ball isn’t an issue for Engram, who even lined up on the outside at times Monday. No tight end in school history caught more passes or racked up more receiving yards than Engram, who led all FBS tight ends with 926 yards and eight touchdowns on 65 receptions last season.

It’s the physicality in the blocking game that teams are still trying to gauge with the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder. Engram said teams have been “pleased” with what they’ve seen from him in that regard, but he put most of the focus on the blocking drills during his workout as he tries to erase any lingering doubts.

“I believe I’m probably one of the best receiving tight ends if not the best tight end in this draft, and a lot of teams agree on that as well,” said Engram, who added most teams at the next level see him in the slot. “But they do see potential in my blocking, my blocking game and see a lot of coaching points that I take.

“Just keep showing my versatility and showing the technique. Blocking was probably a big part of today.”

Engram didn’t want to guess how high he might be taken once the draft starts April 27, but his stock is rising. NFLDraftScout.com ranks Engram as the No. 3 tight end and No. 31 prospect overall in this year’s draft.

He plans to watch the three-day draft back home in Georgia with friends and family, and he hopes to be celebrating with them before the first night is over.

“If that happens, it’s all in God’s hands,” Engram said. “But just what I bring to the table and just what I can bring to a team from Day 1, I believe I am (a first-round pick).”