Not much went right for the Giants last year. All of their wide receivers got hurt, their offensive line was terrible, and their defense underachieved. A two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback got benched. But they did seem to make a great choice in the first round of the draft with tight end Evan Engram.
Engram was a productive pass-catcher from Day 1, finishing the year with 64 catches for 722 yards and 6 TDs. That ranked him 5th among all fantasy tight ends in standard scoring (1 point for every 10 yards, 6 for touchdowns). Since 2000, only one rookie tight end has ranked higher at the position -- former Giants Jeremy Shockey. Only one has put up more fantasy points in his rookie season, and he's a pretty good one too (Rob Gronkowski).
Too early to say that Engram, too, will be one of the all-time greats. He might have been busier in the passing game than New York would have liked with all the receiver injuries, and he's unlikely to ever be a complete tight end (listed at 240 pounds, he's a little light to be much of a blocker). But in fantasy realms, he might be a difference maker for years to come.
Last year was a pretty good year for rookie tight ends. Four of them ranked in the top 30 at the position. That's happened three other times since 2000, and those seasons (2003, 2010 and 2013) produced some of the century's very best players at the position: Zach Ertz, Jordan Reed and Tyler Eifert in 2013; Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham in 2010; and Antonio Gates, Jason Witten and Dallas Clark back in 2003.
Rookie tight ends finishing in the top 30 at their position since 2000 are shown below. Rookies from 2017 are in bold.
|TOP-30 ROOKIE TIGHT ENDS, 2000-PRESENT|
|2010||Rob Gronkowski, N.E.||42||546||10||114.6||5|
|2017||Evan Engram, NYG||64||722||6||108.2||5|
|2002||Jeremy Shockey, NYG||74||894||2||101.4||3|
|2009||John Carlson, Sea.||51||574||7||99.4||11|
|2016||Hunter Henry, S.D.||36||478||8||95.8||11|
|2008||John Carlson, Sea.||55||627||5||92.7||7|
|2010||Aaron Hernandez, N.E.||45||563||6||92.3||13|
|2005||Heath Miller, Pitt.||39||459||6||81.9||11|
|2017||O.J. Howard, T.B.||26||432||6||79.2||14|
|2010||Jermaine Gresham, Cin.||52||471||4||73.1||21|
|2002||Randy McMichael, Mia.||39||485||4||72.5||9|
|2008||Dustin Keller, NYJ||48||535||3||71.5||14|
|2013||Zach Ertz, Phil.||36||469||4||70.9||20|
|2012||Dwayne Allen, Ind.||45||521||3||70.1||23|
|2013||Jordan Reed, Wash.||45||499||3||67.9||23|
|2004||Chris Cooley, Wash.||37||314||6||67.4||14|
|2010||Jimmy Graham, N.O.||31||356||5||65.6||23|
|2006||Owen Daniels, Hou.||34||352||5||65.2||14|
|2013||Mychal Rivera, Oak.||38||407||4||64.7||26|
|2015||Will Tye, NYG||42||464||3||64.4||25|
|2017||George Kittle, S.F.||43||515||2||63.5||21|
|2017||David Njoku, Clev.||32||386||4||62.6||22|
|2007||Zach Miller, Oak.||44||444||3||62.4||16|
|2013||Tyler Eifert, Cin.||39||445||2||56.5||29|
|2001||Eric Johnson, S.F.||40||362||3||56.2||15|
|2008||Martellus Bennett, Dall.||20||283||4||52.3||24|
|2003||Antonio Gates, S.D.||24||389||2||50.9||19|
|2015||Clive Walford, Oak.||28||329||3||50.9||30|
|2014||Jace Amaro, NYJ||38||345||2||46.5||29|
|2006||Vernon Davis, S.F.||20||265||3||44.5||23|
|2000||Bubba Franks, G.B.||34||363||1||42.3||22|
|2003||Jason Witten, Dall.||35||347||1||40.7||23|
|2003||Dallas Clark, Ind.||29||340||1||40.0||25|
|2003||L.J. Smith, Phil.||27||321||1||38.1||27|