We use this space of the internet to break down the New York Giants first-round NFL Draft selection of cornerback Eli Apple.
By Daniel Federico
If there’s one word to describe the New York Giants selection of Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple with the 10th overall pick, it’s…oh wait, there isn’t.
Twitter was flooded with Big Blue fans who think they’re pro scouts, and words to describe the pick of Apple ranged from shocked to annoyed, excited to disappointed, confused to pissed and everything in between.
Due to circumstances involving trades, reaches, pot and injuries, it appears as though General Manager Jerry Reese didn’t get the player he wanted. But either way, Apple will be wearing a “NY” on his helmet, and will have high expectations surrounding his play.
Let’s take a look and break down the selection, and see what the outlook is for the Giants newest player.
Why the Giants Took Apple
For as long as I can remember, I have never seen a team get affected by circumstances like Reese did last night. All week long, Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd and Michigan State offensive tackle Jack Conklin were linked to Big Blue at number 10; and while that very well could have been a smokescreen, it made both the Tennessee Titans and Chicago Bears trade up to take the prospects.
In addition, two of arguably the most talented players in the entire draft – UCLA linebacker Myles Jack and Ole Miss offensive tackle Larry Tusnil – had too many question marks surrounding them for Reese’s liking. Because of this, Apple was the apple of the Giants eye (yes, pun intended).
While the case could be made that Vernon Hargreaves was the better prospect, Reese and company clearly had an affinity for Apple that put him higher on their draft board.
Tale of the Tape
From an athleticism standpoint, there are many things to like about Apple. At 6’1, a shade under 200 pounds and a 4.4 40 time, he has the size and speed combination that many organizations like to see in cornerbacks these days.
When looking at the positives, there are many.
Although he’s still not of the legal drinking age, Apple played a lot of big games at Ohio State, and he’s been starting since his red-shirt freshman year. He’s noted as a great route reader and someone who doesn’t have a problem mirroring the opposition. Apple is also praised as an aggressive player, and has both an ideal work ethic and off-the-field demeanor.
Of course, things aren’t all positive for Apple. If you watch his tapes, he hardly looks for the football, instead keeping his eyes on the receiver as they jump for the ball. On top of that, he isn’t the best at diagnosing plays and has trouble reading the quarterback. Finally, he doesn’t always play to his size, sometimes coming up weaker on run plays than expected.
Outlook for 2016
In today’s NFL, teams need three cornerbacks to truly compete. And with the Giants defense giving up over 4,000 yards through the air in 2015, fans should not be mad at this pick. Sure, it isn’t sexy; but with Apple joining Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the newly signed Janoris Jenkins, the defense should be in a better position to succeed.
It looks as though Apple will begin the season in the slot, but could work his way to the outside as Rodgers-Cromartie has experience within the numbers as well. Either way, there is no doubting that Reese has upgraded the secondary after bolstering the defensive line. If only he could get some quality linebackers.