Giants rookie TE Evan Engram showcases his size and speed

This was no ordinary practice for Evan Engram.

After a light jog-through on Friday, head coach Ben McAdoo had his team “crank it up” on Saturday, running his longest practice of training camp — approximately two hours and 12 minutes — including plays down in the “green zone” where Engram could make his mark.

He did not disappoint.

“I knew today was, by far, going to be the hardest one,” Engram said. “I woke up this morning ready to go to work, so I came out here and gave my best, ready to make plays.”

The rookie tight end hauled in two touchdowns in practice, including a diving catch on a fade route in the back right corner of the end zone, as he showed the Giants what kind of weapon he could be for the offense.

“I work to be a big playmaker and I know there’s a lot of weapons on this team that make big plays in the end zone,” Engram said. “I want to be one to add to those guys.”

McAdoo even approached Engram while he was stretching and let the 22-year-old know what he wanted from him.

“I asked him to go out there and play your speed,” McAdoo said. “Do what you’ve been doing and we’ll detail it as we go and don’t look back.”

“He pretty much tells me to just play fast,” Engram said. “Once I’m more comfortable and learn and have everything down … you get more comfortable with the playbook, you play fast.”

Evan Engram

Evan Engram

(Julio Cortez/AP)

Engram is a key player to watch in camp after Giants took the Ole Miss product with the 23rd pick in this year’s NFL Draft.

The Giants liked the 6-foot-3, 240-pound tight end due to the combination of his speed and size, which he certainly put on display Saturday.

Even the Giants’ vaunted pass defense is taking notice.

“It seems like he’s got more power than most DBs expect because he gets his body into you and propels himself off of you and gets open, or he can just beat you with speed,” cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “So, he’s definitely a threat. He’s definitely shown that, especially in one-on-one’s, it seems like he’s always getting open and catching the ball.”

McAdoo also gave the rookie some praise but noted Engram will continue to have to battle the mental hurdles of playing tight end.

“I saw a young player who is learning how to play the game down in the green zone,” said McAdoo, borrowing predecessor Tom Coughlin’s terminology for the red zone. “He’s a target down there, we all see that. We all see the skill set. The challenge for a guy like him is you move him around, you ask a lot of him, play him in different spots and if you think too much you can do too much playing that position.”

Engram agreed that the mental aspect is still a hurdle, but after Saturday’s standout practice he feels he is taking a step in the right direction.

“Sometimes when I’m thinking too much I can’t get to my game and get to what I do best,” he said. “But those things are dying down and today was a really good day from a mental standpoint for me. Still a lot things, some things to work on but definitely getting more comfortable in the offense kind of being more, knowing more of what I’m doing.”

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