Former Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram drafted by New York Giants in first round

Published 9:51 pm Thursday, April 27, 2017

Turns out Evan Engram was right.

Ole Miss’ former record-breaking tight end was selected by the New York Giants in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday. Engram was the second tight end taken, going to the Giants with the 23rd overall pick.

Engram is the 23rd first-round pick in school history and the fourth in the last two years after Laremy Tunsil, Laquon Treadwell and Robert Nkemdiche were all taken in the first round a year ago. He’s the first Ole Miss tight end to be drafted since Kris Mangum in 1997.

“I can’t put it into words,” Engram said, according to the Giants’ official Twitter account. “New York was at the top. It’s an amazing feeling.”

Engram’s rookie contract is projected to be worth $10,763,421 with a signing bonus of $5,967,942, according to Spotrac.com.

Engram touted his pass-catching ability after his pro day workout earlier this month and said he believed he had done enough to be a first-round pick despite teams having questions about his blocking at the position, though he added most teams interested in him saw him more as a bigger slot receiver at 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds.

“Coaches love to move me around to create mismatches,” Engram said. “I get excited when I see a big linebacker trying to man me up.”

Engram led all FBS tight ends in yards (926) and touchdown receptions (8) on his way to All-America honors last season. His stock soared when he blazed a time of 4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine — the fastest among tight ends — that answered any questions about his speed.

“We see him as a weapon,” Giants general manager Jerry Reese said, “and we’ll take all the weapons we can get.

“We see him as a guy who can line up anywhere.”

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. on Thursday morning projected Engram to go 27th overall to the Kansas City Chiefs, but the Giants liked him more. Alabama’s O.J. Howard was the first tight end taken by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 19th pick before Engram, the newest weapon for former Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning, was taken four picks later.

It’s the first time since 2006 that multiple tight ends have been drafted in the first round.

A member of Ole Miss’ 2013 recruiting class, Engram started 42 games in his career. He’s the school’s all-time leader in receptions (162), receiving yards (2,320) and touchdown catches (15) by a tight end.

“I know I’m ready to come in and make an immediate impact,” Engram said. “I know for a fact.”