When the New York Jets offered the New York Giants the 20th and 51st picks for Big Blue’s 10th overall selection, should NYG have made the deal?
By Jack Aylmer
The answer should be a resounding “yes,” and if your reasoning for no is that you don’t want to help out the Jets in any way, you’re crazy.
Adding an extra second round pick in in the deep 2016 NFL Draft would have jacked up Jerry Reese‘s offseason grade from an A to an A++.
Wether or not Eli Apple is still on the board at No. 20 overall, we will never know, but I don’t think it’s as far-fetched an idea as some people think.
Apple’s potential and athletic ability are phenomenal, yet when I watched his rookie minicamp battles against Sterling Shepard it became apparent that Apple has a long way to go before he is an NFL starting caliber player.
Against Shepard, Apple looked like a pass interference penalty waiting to happening. Every time it looked like Shepard was getting a step on him the former Buckeye broke out the hand checks and grabbing.
This isn’t just a problem that’s surfacing now either, over the span of 2014-2015 he racked up holding and seven pass interference penalties for OSU.
Apple will be a fine slot corner in 2016, possessing the quickness and hip fluidity necessary to stay with receivers on shorter underneath routes.
Still, is he that much better than say Houston’s William Jackson III who went 24th overall to the Cincinnati Bengals?
Jackson is just an inch shorter and 10 pounds lighter than Apple, so he still fits the mold of a “big” defensive back.
Like Apple, Jackson did struggle with penalties, drawing even flags last season, but has far more polished ball skills then the recently drafted Giant.
Over the last two years Apple collected four interceptions and 22 passes defended, while Jackson finished with five picks and a nation leading 23 passes defended in the last year alone.
Although Apple performed better when handling bigger and stronger receivers than Jackson ever did in college, he only put up three more reps on the bench press (13) than the former Cougar (10).
Jackson also out ran Apple in the forty yard dash, putting up a blazing 4.37 to Apple’s still impressive 4.40 time.
It’s always hard to say one prospect will be better than another before the two players have even put on the pads or taken a single NFL snap for that matter.
While hindsight is always 20/20, Apple does have more potential as a prospect, but the talent drop off is not that huge between what New York got at 10 and what they could have had at 20.
Also on the board a 20 for the Giants to pounce on included names such as Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland, UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, Texas A&M offensive guard German Ifedi, Clemson defensive end Kevin Dodd, and Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee.
All good values at 20th overall, all fill an immediate need, all would be day one starters for the Giants in 2016, with the exception of Dodd who would’ve provided a valuable lift to the Giants pass rush off the bench.
Meanwhile, had the Giants been in possession of Gang Green’s 51st overall pick, they could have added both Shepard and another member of the cream of the Day 2 prospect crop.
New York could have added Clemson defensive back Mackenzie Alexander (assuming they didn’t go with a cornerback in round one), an All-ACC honorable mention who allowed just 29.6 percent of passed thrown his way to be completed with zero touchdowns.
He also blanketed Shepard in coverage throughout the pairs collegiate meetings.
Also on the board was Kansas State 2015 team captain, offensive guard Cody Whitehair. An All-Big 12 selection, the massive 6’5″ Whitehair played both right tackle and guard in college, both things the Giants could sorely use.
Among the other routes New York could have gone with the 51st selection would have been Ohio State safety Vonn Bell, LSU outside linebacker Deion Jones, Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib, and USC linebacker Su’a Cravens.
Had Gang Green been willing to offer a fifth-fourth round pick in their package to move up to 10 this deal would have been a no-brainer.
However, with what the Jets did put on the table for the Giants, this is a trade Reese should have pulled the trigger on.
New York could have brought aboard four potential starters (including third round selection free safety Darian Thompson out of Boise State) in the first two days of the Draft.
This would have been a huge boost for a team trying to quickly rebuild into a title contender without blowing the whole roster up in the process.
Reese has had an excellent offseason to date, sure he overpaid for free agents like Olivier Vernon and Janoris Jenkins, but teams coming off a sub-.500 record are not going to get any discounts from players on the open market.
Still, he had the chance to end his 2016 offseason with an exclamation point but forewent that opportunity to draft Apple instead.