Giants coach Ben McAdoo advised Evan Engram to stop thinking, and as soon as he did, the rookie started excelling. The first-round pick had the best practice of his budding career Saturday, playing quicker and with more confidence.
That it came on the first day of green zone work was no coincidence. Both Engram and McAdoo agree the 6-foot-3, 240-pound tight end is going to be a weapon near the end zone, after he caught eight touchdowns as an Ole Miss senior.
“I saw a young player who’s learning how to play the game the way we want it played down in the green zone,” McAdoo said. “He’s a target down there, we all see that. We all see the skillset.
“The challenge for a guy like him is … he can think too much. You [can] think too much playing that position. I asked him to go out there and play with speed and we’ll detail it as we go and don’t look back. And he made some productive plays down there.”
Plays like a great diving touchdown catch on a Eli Manning fade in the corner of the endzone early in 7-on-7s.
“[McAdoo] was telling me to play fast. Once I’m more comfortable, learn and have everything down. That’s what happens when you get more comfortable in the playbook, you play fast,’’ Engram said. “So he’s just pushing me to play faster and I had that in my mindset, for sure.
“Sometimes, when I’m thinking too much, I can’t get into my game and get to what I do best because I’m thinking about what happened on a play or something. But, those things are dying down. [Saturday] was a really good day from a mental standpoint for me.”
It certainly left Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie impressed.
“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,” the cornerback said. “So, he’s definitely a threat.”
The drafting of Engram and signing of blocker Rhett Ellison to a group that already included Jerell Adams, Will Tye and Matt LaCosse could leave the latter pair fighting for the fourth tight end spot, if the Giants even carry that many.
“We’ve got a lot of guys on the offensive side who are on the bubble,” McAdoo said when asked about Tye. “The thing about being on the bubble is sometimes it takes your fears to bring out the best in you and that’s what we’re looking for in those guys. What are you going to do? Are you…