WALDWICK, N.J. — Evan Engram was running quick out routes inside the Superdome, catching everything thrown his way from a line of little quarterbacks.
The Giants tight end served as the special guest star Saturday at the Hyundai Youth Football Camp.
“You guys have dreams; you guys have aspirations,” Engram told the crowd of kids ranging from 7 to 13 after moving from station to station to work and play with them in the morning session. “But it’s really simple how to get there. You’ve got to put the work in no matter what . . . whether you want to be a doctor or you want to be a football player, a basketball player, fireman, astronaut, anything.”
In less than two weeks, the 2017 first-round pick again will be running routes and putting in the work with the rest of the Giants when training camp kicks off. They also have big dreams and aspirations after last season’s 3-13 debacle.
The team seems improved, especially offensively with the healing of Odell Beckham Jr.’s fractured ankle and the arrival of first-round running back Saquon Barkley, second-round guard Will Hernandez and free-agent left tackle Nate Solder.
So Engram, who put together the fifth-best receiving season for a tight end in franchise history with a team-leading 64 catches and set a Big Blue rookie record for tight ends with six touchdown receptions last year, said it’s “definitely” realistic to go from worst to first and win the NFC East title under new coach Pat Shurmur.
“That’s the goal,” Engram said. “That’s what we work for. We don’t work to come in second place or runner-up. Our goal is to win as many games as possible. When we do that, if we do that, the trophies come with it. That’s the mindset we have going into the new season.”
The 6-3, 240-pound Ole Miss product recently took part in workouts at UCLA with Beckham, Barkley, Sterling Shepard and a few other Giants. Engram gave Beckham a four-star review in his comeback from surgery that followed his Week 5 injury.
“He looks really good,” Engram said. “He’s running all his routes, making all his breaks, making all the cuts. He’s getting his confidence back, definitely. He looks like his old self. He’s running around, having fun, making all the catches.”
Eli Manning, prepping for his 15th season, also received a rave review.
“Eli looked really good all offseason,” Engram said. “We went to Duke and he was slinging it around all camp. He was making a lot of throws that he had been making for years. We’ve got some additions on the O-line. We’re going to give him some more time back there.
“You all will see. Eli is still Eli. It’s going to be a good year for us and a good year for him.”
The new offense features “a lot of moving around,” according to Engram. He said it allows him to line up as an in-line tight end and outside receiver, or in the backfield or the slot. He’s looking forward to using his speed and getting downfield.
“I’m really excited,” Engram said. “It’s really fast tempo and a lot of different terminology, but it can be a really exciting offense for us, really unique. With all the talent we have, we’ve just got to put it together.”
After making the Pro Football Writers of America’s all-rookie team, he expects to improve.
“My leadership role has kind of increased,” Engram said. “I’m more vocal, more comfortable around these guys, more chemistry . . . I’ve been working on some things this offseason. My game has gotten better.
“Even through spring, just being out on the field, just kind of running through routes and setting guys up and having one-on-one matchups, the game is just much more slower,” Engram said. “I’m really excited to get out there and have a lot more of that confidence.”
Engram turns 24 on Sept. 2, a week before his sophomore season in the NFL is scheduled to begin against Jacksonville at MetLife Stadium.
“Enjoy being young,” he told the campers, “because I’m getting old.”