I fully expected to log onto the internet on Monday night and find that Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan missed the Pro Bowl for TJ Hockenson. I could see Rob Gronkowski on name recognition, or Jared Cook, perhaps?
But no. The NFC’s two tight ends this year are Hockenson and the New York Giants’ Evan Engram. Evan Engram? Yes, Evan Engram. The rest of the voting actually seems pretty good, but what on earth is going on here? Well, let’s break it down:
Things Evan Engram Ranks Highly In:
1. Awful Quarterbacks
While Daniel Jones does have the best QBR in the NFC East and the 2nd best DVOA among qualifiers in the NFC East, it’s worth noting that he is terrible, and that even though he’s 31st in DVOA, the only East QB higher is Andy Dalton, who is 30th. Jones is ahead of Alex Smith at 32nd and Carson Wentz at 33.
Which is to say that all of that division is incredible and should be relegated to the CFL. Also, Danny Dimes might be bad, but:
#Giants QBs have a 60.4 rating and five interceptions when throwing to Evan Engram this season, per PFF.— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) December 22, 2020
So maybe it’s not all Danny’s fault. If you want to give him some props for playing with this trash, fine, except his rate stats were better last year with the same trash, and even better the year before with the withered corpse of Eli Manning. Maybe Engram was just depressed this year having to deal with all of this. Maybe the Pro Bowl will cheer him up?
2. Metro Area
My understanding is that New York is quite large. That said, I’ve been told you folks have better taste than to watch a bunch of Giants games. All those rumors we Midwesterners hear about not actually liking Sbarro. How are we to believe that now?
Things Evan Engram did not lead the league in:
Kind of, everything? It’s not just that he didn’t lead the league, it’s that he was often atrocious. One of the worst. A train wreck. You probably expect me to start with DVOA and DYAR, and I will.
Engram has negative-94 DYAR, which is the worst among tight ends in the NFC. And he has a -25.7% DVOA, which is second worst in the NFC to Zach Ertz. Of course, some may thinkg “Well, your fancy schmancy advanced stats aren’t everything mister. Just because the DVOA people tell you something doesn’t make it true.”
OK, totally fair. And hey, often a player can garner recognition through compelling counting stats, which in Engram’s case...huh. No, that’s not it. Engram is third in the conference with 54 catches, behind TJ Hockenson and Washington’s Logan Thomas, and he’s second in yards to Hockenson, but he’s dead last in touchdowns for qualifiers and second-last in catch percentage. The best conventional stat for overall receiving value is Yards per Target, where he ranks 29th in the NFL, and 14th in the NFC.
Basically, if you think that Engram belonged in the Pro Bowl you also think Daniel Jones should be cut immediately, because you can make all the same arguments for Zach Ertz to make it because Carson Wentz is like the worst quarterback I’ve ever seen and surely Ertz has had a harder time of it, and of course, if you like Ertz you also should probably put in Dallas Goedert or Richard Rodgers, who are also on the Eagles and actually rank well in some of these stats, or Logan Thomas who has Dwayne Haskins half the time, a QB who exists partially to make Wentz feel better about himself. And what about Jimmy Graham? I mean, don’t even get me started about Mitch Trubisky.
Or, and hear me out, you could make the correct selection.
Things Bob Led the Conference In:
We believe that we at Acme Packing Company coined the Big Bob nickname, and a few of us were early adopters at pronouncing his name correctly, although I am not one of them and refuse to change, so we take this more personally than some others. The fact is that Bob leads the NFC in DYAR, and leads Evan Engram by 310 DYAR. The only tight end with more accumulated DYAR is Travis Kelce. Bob is first in DVOA. Yes, he’s the most efficient tight end in the league at 53.6% better than average. 2nd is Darren Fells at 40.4%. The gap between Engram and Tonyan is the same size as the gap in most Pro-Bowl voters heads. As previously mentioned, Engram has 5 more receptions than Tonyan, but I wouldn’t put too much stock in that because he accumulated those 5 extra receptions over...(you may want to sit down for this)
40 additional targets
40! Yeah, Engram has 54 catches on 95 targets! Bob has 49 catches on 55 targets! In fact, the one category Engram leads the NFC in is targets. Awful, pointless targets.
So Bob doesn’t get used as much, but his 89.1% catch percentage leads the NFL among tight ends by more than 10 percentage points, blowing away Mo Alie-Cox (78.9%) and Tyler Higbee (76%). Bob also leads the league in Yards per Target (minimum 35 targets) with 10.02, which is even better than Travis Kelce. And if you like old stupid counting stats, the man has scored 10 touchdowns, which leads the league along with Kelce. Again, Engram is last.
Engram does have more yards than Tonyan with 572. That’s 21 more than Bob’s 551. On the other hand, Engram got those 21 yards over 40 ADDITIONAL TARGETS. (And 5 additional catches, which still isn’t good.)
If you wanted to go with the dumb counting stat candidate, you could have at least gone with Hockenson, who has 60 catches (on 92 targets!), 675 yards, and a respectable 6 touchdowns. He’s on the team and probably deserves to make it. But there is quite literally no reason to vote for Evan Engram for anything, and honestly, they should probably cancel the Pro Bowl. How can so many of you be so bad at voting?
In conclusion, Big Bob was robbed. Big Bob forever. Vote Big Bob.