Kaden Smith: Tight End on the Rise

by Craig J. Santucci @NYGiantsRush

If you look across the league successful quarterbacks have dynamic Tight Ends. Players like Kittle, Ertz, Kelce, Rudolph, Howard, Hockenson, and Ebron are major offensive threats for their squads.

The New York Giants first-round pick in 2017 was Tight End, Evan Engram, from Ole Miss. He was penciled in for greatness; with a combination of size and speed, Engram was destined to be a threat. Since being drafted, sadly, Engram has missed 14 games over a three-year span due to injury. For the third year in a row, injuries have derailed his rise to the NFL elite status. His best year was his rookie year.

  • 2017 – played 15 games – 722 yards | 6 TDS | 11.3 yds a catch
  • 2018 – played 11 games – 573 yards | 3 TDS | 12.8 yds a catch
  • 2019 – played 8 games – 467 yards | 3 TDS | 10.6 yds a catch

His best game in 2019 was the season opener vs. Dallas where he had 11 receptions on 14 targets for 114 yards. In week 3, Engram had his second 100 yd. game on 6 receptions. This is the type of production the Giants need from a 1st round pick. He would never have over 54 yards a game the rest of the season and missed the last 8 games.

  • 430 yards of Engram’s 467 total yards came out of the 3 & 4 wide receiver sets. This is the match up the linebacker often lose as the DB’s cover 3/4 wide. He needs to be able to chip at the line and get free in 2 receivers sets for additional production.
  • The Giants have options with Engram: Signed a four-year, $10.71 million contract. The deal includes a $5.935 million signing bonus.
2020 – Evan Engram $1.92 million
2021 – Evan EngramNYG Club Option
2022 – Evan EngramFree Agent

In 2019 The Giants had five Tight Ends in camp; Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, Garrett Dickerson, Jake Powell, CJ Conrad, and Scott Simonson.

The New Guy:

Kaden Smith is not on that list because he didn’t start the season with the Giants. Kaden Smith was cut by 49ers and signed by the Giants on September 17th. The 49ers planned to re-sign Smith to the practice squad however, he never cleared waivers. Gettleman stepped in and gave him a chance. At Stanford, Smith caught 70 passes for 1,049 yards and seven touchdowns over two seasons. He was a sixth-round draft pick for the 49ers and made the initial 53-man roster backing up Kittle, Dwelley, and Toilolo.

In the last two weeks of the 2019 season, Kaden Smith showed the Giants and the fan base what he is capable of.

  • Week 15 (Washington) 6 rec. | 8 targets | 2 Touch Downs
  • Week 16 (Philly) 8 rec. | 11 targets | 98 yards

Tight End Schools:

I wanted to dive into the recent history of the most productive Tight Ends and I found that in college…they all looked the same. They were all good, Engram included. There was a small trend in schools like Miami, Stanford, Iowa, Tennesse, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, and Alabama.

Late Round Picks: Diamonds in the Rough

Wide Receiver Darius Slayton was picked by the Giants with the 171st pick of the NFL draft. Five picks later the 49ers chose Kaden Smith with 176th pick. Slayton and Smith are now teammates, both with impressive rookie years.

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