Evan Engram, Eli Manning will make Ole Miss connection in New York

Published 6:00 am Friday, April 28, 2017

According to the New York Giants’ official Twitter account, former Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram said he quickly heard from his new quarterback after becoming the Giants’ first-round draft pick Thursday night.

“Eli Manning texted me after to tell me congrats,” Engram said.

Manning, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Giants, is entering his 14th season as the team’s signal caller, one that will feature an Ole Miss connection with his newest weapon. Manning was taken first overall by the San Diego Chargers in the 2004 draft before being traded to the Giants after an All-American career at Ole Miss from 2000-03.

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Engram said the two have already gotten some practice in.

“Eli Manning is always around Ole Miss in the offseason,” Engram said. “I’ve caught a couple balls from him.”

As the 23rd overall pick, Engram figures to be an immediate target for Manning. With All-Pro Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and the newly acquired Brandon Marshall as the top options on the outside, the Giants will likely try to exploit mismatches with Engram in the middle of the field much like he was used at Ole Miss, where he set the all-time records for receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches by a tight end.

Giants coach Ben McAdoo said Engram will also contribute on special teams.

“The fastest way to the end zone is down the middle of the field, and any time you can add someone to your offense that can run down the middle of the field with that type of speed and length, it stresses the defense,” McAdoo said.

Manning completed 63 percent of his passes for 4,027 yards and 26 touchdowns with 16 interceptions last season as the Giants’ season ended with an NFC wild-card loss to the Packers. The Giants converted on third down just 35.6 percent of the time, something Engram may be able to help with as a safety valve for his new quarterback.