Evan Engram, Giants draft class one of few positives from lost season

Giants TE Evan Engram led all rookie tight ends in catches (64) and yards (722) and tied for first in touchdowns (6). Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

With all that went wrong with the New York Giants this season, the rookie class was a bright spot. Their top two picks started most of the season and played relatively well. The Giants 2017 draft class showed promise throughout what was otherwise a disastrous season.

Grade: Above average

Best rookie: Evan Engram led all rookie tight ends in catches (64) and yards (722) and tied for first in touchdowns (six). The athleticism that made him a first-round pick translated to the field. He was a tough guard for opposing linebackers or safeties. Engram needs to cut down on the drops and improve his blocking, with which he was willing but not overly effective. Overall, it was a good rookie season for the Giants’ top pick.

Most improved rookie: RB Wayne Gallman started slowly but came on as the season progressed. His 89 yards rushing in the season finale were a season high. Gallman had to first prove to the Giants coaching staff that he would eliminate the mistakes (fumbles, dropped passes, missed blocking assignments) early in the season after an up-and-down training camp. He seemed to earn their trust around the midway point of the season. Once on the field, Gallman showed that he runs hard and can make defenders miss. He didn’t look like a rookie by the end of the season.

Most disappointing rookie: OT Adam Bisnowaty. This is probably nitpicking a bit. Bisnowaty was a sixth-round pick out of Pittsburgh. He wasn’t supposed to make an immediate impact. He was, however, supposed to make the roster. Instead, he sat on the practice squad for the first 16 weeks of the season and looked overmatched in pass protection during his one appearance in the finale against the Redskins. Bisnowaty was beaten for a roster spot by undrafted rookie Chad Wheeler.

Jury is still out on: QB Davis Webb. When the season started, he wasn’t supposed to play. He didn’t, even though the plan changed a few times in between. Webb did everything the Giants asked behind closed doors and on the practice field. His work ethic and attitude were effusively praised. But even he admitted that nobody knows where he is in his development until he gets into a game. The Giants missed on their opportunity to make that happen when they fired Ben McAdoo and replaced him with defensive coordinator Steve Spaguolo. What motivation did Spagnuolo have to play his rookie third-round quarterback over Eli Manning? None. That kept Webb pinned to the bench and everybody guessing on what he can be at the NFL level.

Undrafted rookie evaluation: Wheeler is the most notable of this year’s undrafted bunch. He showed potential during the summer and this season, when he also looked like a rookie at times. It’s to be expected. There was enough there to think that Wheeler maybe can develop into a starting tackle and, at minimum, be a solid reserve. He was a quality find after the draft out of USC. Wide receiver Travis Rudolph and linebacker Calvin Munson also found their way onto the field this season. Munson started five games and finished with 60 tackles and two sacks. He looks like a player.