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Jaguars’ Evan Engram to face Giants for first time amid slow start

After six years with the Giants, tight end Evan Engram is catching passes for a new team this season. Engram has not missed a game for the Jaguars and is not really living up to the hefty contract (one year, $9 million) the Jaguars gave him in free agency.

Engram, the Giants’ first-round pick in the 2017 draft, has 24 receptions for 208 yards, an average of just 8.7 yards per catch. He does not have a touchdown, and Sunday he faces his former team for the first time.

Jaguars tight end Evan Engram.
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Evan Engram during his days with the Giants.
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“Evan is, No. 1, a great person, that’s the first thing,” Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday. “No. 2, he brought a lot of experience and a lot of depth that we needed at that position. His route-running ability and overall leadership are things that I’ve seen. Very unselfish player. He does whatever it takes to help us try to win football games and he’s been great in that way.”

The thought when the Giants took Engram with the No. 23 pick in 2017 was that he would be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses, too big for defensive backs and too fast for linebackers. At times, Engram was all that. But only at times. His best year, in terms of production, came when he was a rookie, with 64 receptions for 722 yards and six touchdowns — all career highs. He finished his five years with the Giants with 286 catches for 3,036 yards and 16 touchdowns and was often a landing spot for the ire of the fans as the franchise fell into disrepair.

Engram, 28, was still around the Giants facility last winter when Brian Daboll was hired as the new head coach. The Giants did not make any real move to keep him.

“I think he’s a talented player,” Daboll said. “He’s got good speed. He’s got good quickness. He was a good young man. It was just for a short time that I got a chance to talk to him, but I thought he was a good player.”

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence is certainly looking for Engram, who has been targeted 32 times. Expect the targets to rise this weekend.

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