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Evan Engram could become linchpin in Ravens passing game

The NFL is a league dictated by mismatches. Evan Engram could become the next Jordan Reed.

NCAA Football: Memphis at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The initial wave of free agency has passed and the Ravens have made moves to solidify what has been thought of as their top need in the form of their secondary. The signings of Tony Jefferson and Brandon Carr open up the possibility of pass catchers being drafted in the first two rounds, if the board falls accordingly.

Evan Engram out of Ole Miss comes off a Combine that saw him blaze a 4.42 forty yard dash. At 6'3” and 234 lbs, the problems he could create when lined up in the slot - as he usually did in college - could vault the Ravens offense forward.

Even if tight ends usually struggle to adapt to the NFL, Engram would not have to thrust into the traditional tight end role. The Ravens need is at slot receiver. Engram is a different type of slot receiver, but a slot receive nonetheless. As a pass catcher, his agility is reflected by the 6.92 3 cone drill time he ran, second behind only O.J Howard. He can stretch the seam, and when isolated, is quick enough to avoid linebackers and safeties on hitch routes, or win jump balls on corner route, as shown by his terrific touchdown catch against Georgia (skip to 1:41 in the video for the play).

After his spectacular Combine, Engram is not likely to be available in the middle of the second round. But with the Ravens having two third round picks, trading a later round pick plus the compensatory one could be considered a sensible option to get the team to the top of the second round.

To use him as a traditional in line tight end would be wasting his athletic gifts. He is a flex player that could dictate match ups in the mould of Jordan Reed or Julius Thomas. The Ravens need to find a player good enough to build an offense around. Engram could be it.