“I know I’m ready to come in and make an immediate impact,” Engram said. “I know it for a fact.”
Engram, the 23rd overall pick, is the first tight end chosen by the Giants in the opening round since Jeremy Shockey in 2002. Shockey emerged as the rookie of the year and was chosen to the Pro Bowl in four of his first five seasons.
The Giants hope that Engram, 22, will jolt an offense that often sputtered last season and ease pressure on wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall, the former Jet who was signed as a free agent this off-season.
“If you have a guy who can stretch defenses down the middle, we think that’s tremendous,” Reese said.
Engram also possesses the speed and versatility to line up as a wide receiver or in the slot, where he could create mismatches with defenses. “We see him as a guy who can line up anywhere,” Reese said.
In the ensuing six rounds on Friday and Saturday, the Giants are likely to bolster their offensive line, perhaps with more than one pick. But this year’s draft class was not considered to be strong at the tackle position, and Reese was not about to reach to make a pick at that spot.
“There are some offensive linemen we feel are good football players,” Reese said, “but we stayed true to our board.”
With the 20th pick, the Denver Broncos took one offensive tackle who might have interested the Giants: Garett Bolles of Utah. Bolles was a self-described “lost kid” whose father, Grove, kicked him out of the house when he was 19. He was dismissed from five schools but appears to have steadied himself.
The Giants may also use a selection in the later rounds to find a possible successor for Eli Manning, the quarterback who has led them to two Super Bowl victories. Reese, the general manager since 2007, noted in his predraft media briefing that he had paid more attention to that position than in the past.
“I probably looked at more quarterbacks this time than I did at other times,” he said last week.
Although the Giants leaned heavily on an outstanding defense in finishing 11-5 last season and securing their first playoff berth in five years as a wild card, Reese expressed confidence in Manning, 36.
“We think Eli has some good years left to play for us,” he said, “and we are trying to put good people around him as well. Hopefully, the offense can pick up the pace more than last year.”
Manning is under contract for the next three years. He has been remarkably durable at a position with a high casualty rate in starting 211 consecutive games, the third-longest streak in league history. Brett Favre holds the record with 321 games in a row. Manning’s older brother, Peyton, started 227 consecutive games.
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