49ers: Analyzing Evan Engram’s fit in San Francisco’s offense

49ers (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
49ers (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers reportedly have interest in trading for tight end Evan Engram. We analyze how the athletic tight end would fit in on San Francisco’s offense.

The San Francisco 49ers already have arguably the best tight end in football in the ever-exuberant George Kittle. But the 49ers could be in for another major splash at the position with reports that the team is interested in New York Giants tight end Evan Engram.

Forbes’ Vincent Frank reported on Friday that the 49ers will be in the market for a second tight end behind Kittle and the oft-injured Engram is a name that has been discussed.

There’s no doubt that Engram would be a massive boost for the offense, but is this reasonable and how exactly would he fit in on offense?

For starters, the Giants aren’t just going to give Engram away, but there is a reason he finds himself the subject of trade rumors. The fourth-year tight end has missed 13 games over the past two seasons dealing with knee and foot injuries.

While a dynamic offensive playmaker when on the field, the Giants might not see the value in a player who’s missed nearly as many games as he’s played since his rookie season.

For the 49ers though, it might be worth the gamble. The only problem is, the team doesn’t exactly have a ton of draft capital to work with.

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There’s obviously no chance the 49ers part with one of their first-round picks for Engram. That means they’ll either have to convince the Giants to give him up for a fifth-round pick or resort to other options.

Perhaps that option involved trading down out of the first round and using the accumulated draft picks to strike a deal. Or perhaps it requires giving up future draft capital. Maybe a player like Marquise Goodwin could even be thrown into the trade.

Plenty of options are on the table. And there’s no telling that Engram wouldn’t be a perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

Engram is an excellent receiving threat with the athleticism to match most receivers in the league. He ran a blazing 4.42 40-yard dash back at the NFL Combine and he has the ability to run up the seam and stretch the field like few other tight ends.

Obviously the durability is a concern, but so too is his blocking.

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If the 49ers are looking for a capable blocking tight end to pair with Kittle, Engram isn’t going to be that player. But with an already incredibly talented blocker in Kittle, that’s probably not what the team is looking for.

The 49ers are searching for speed and added pass-catchers on offense. It doesn’t matter if that player is labeled a “wide receiver” or a “tight end.” As long as they could catch the ball efficiently, they’ll do the trick.

Engram would likely line up primarily in the slot or in an H-back role where he could make the most of his athleticism. If the 49ers do trade for the former Ole Miss star, don’t expect to see him as an in-line blocker.

Shanahan will find ways to maximize his speed and create mismatches for opposing defensive backs. Linebackers won’t be able to keep up with him and he towers over defensive backs with his 6-foot-3, 240-pound frame.

While much of the focus has been on bolstering the passing game with wide receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft, adding Engram could provide just as much value for significantly less draft capital.

Imagine an offense with Jerry Jeudy, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Evan Engram as the team’s top pass-catching options? Imagine the things Shanahan could do to get those players in open space?

The possibilities are endless.

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Engram would be an instant-impact offensive addition, provided he could stay healthy. And even if it takes some maneuvering in the draft to make a trade happen, the results might just be worth it.