On that play Engram was matched up against a safety (Georgia’s Quincy Mauger), broke off a nice corner route, then made an outstanding adjustment to come back and get the ball after it was underthrown. Any discussion of Engram will start with his unique athletic gifts for a tight end, and arguably at no time this season was it on better display than on that leaping end-zone grab.
And the fact that it came against a safety is noteworthy, because teams struggled all year long trying to figure out a coverage plan vs. Engram. He has enough speed and precision in his routes to be problematic for safeties, and he has a significant size advantage on most slot corners and linebackers.
That play offers a glimpse into how Engram may be utilized most often in the NFL—as a “move” tight end (others might prefer “Joker” or “H-back”, but the concepts are all similar). Ole Miss frequently bluffed Engram as a blocker to help set up play-action, and in that case above, the motion found him in a matchup with a linebacker.
Where does McKenzie fall short? He’s neglected the middle and inside linebacker position over the past few years. In 2012, McKenzie took the executive position and inherited Rolando McClain at middle linebacker. In the following year, Nick Roach took over and started all 16 games at the position. Unfortunately, concussions cut his career short. He didn’t play a single game beyond the 2013 season.
Thereafter, the linebacker choices fell terribly short of decent expectations. McKenzie should’ve read NFL.com’s scouting report on Miles Burris, who started 16 games at middle linebacker in 2014.
The assessment underscored his struggles while playing in space. Instead of lining up at his natural position on the outside, the coaching staff utilized the 2012 fourth-round pick inside. McKenzie decided not to draft a natural inside linebacker during the 2014 draft. In that year, third-round pick, Sio Moore, played on the outside.