In honor of Throwback Thursday, we’ll take a look back at last year’s draft when the New York Giants took cornerback Eli Apple, instead of the highest graded player coming into the draft offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil with the 10th pick.
Laremy Tunsil would be taken three picks later by the Miami Dolphins and would have a solid rookie season.
When the Giants selected Eli Apple, many fans were puzzled with the pick considering the Giants already had two solid cornerbacks in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the newly acquired Janoris Jenkins. Plus Apple by many wasn’t even the best cornerback available, and the team needed offensive line help.
Apple had a solid rookie season and showed that he has a promising future in the NFL registering 51 tackles and had one interception. But he was the Giants third best cornerback and the Giant did not trust him to play in the slot.
Had the Giants drafted Tunsil instead, he may have been the Giants best offensive lineman from the start of training camp. He started 14 games for the Dolphins, two of them at left tackle, the other at left guard. His performance this season was the reasons cut left tackle Braden Albert so Tunsil can start in his place in 2017.
Some may say revisiting the Giants decision to take Apple instead of Tunsil is hindsight which we all know is 20/20. But even at the time despite the video of Tunsil wearing a gas mask and smoking out of bong minutes before the draft, the Giants had a chance to select a player that could have solidified their offensive line for years to come. After all left tackle is the second most important position on the field.
Ereck Flowers, the Giants current start left tackle, had a decent rookie year in 2015. But there were signs that right tackle or guard would best suited for him. As we all know Flowers struggled mightily last season and was one of the reasons the Giants offense struggled all season long. Had the Giants drafted Tunsil, they could have put him at left tackle and moved Flowers to right tackle.
Imagine if the Giants offensive line last season consistent of Tunsil, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, John Jerry and Flowers. They definitely would have been able to score 30 points or more and several games this season, and wouldn’t have had the 25th ranked offense.
As it stands now left tackle is still an issue for the Giants, and are looking to possibly take one in the first round.
But this is not to say that drafted Apple didn’t make sense. After all he does have talent and you can never have enough quality corners on your team. Plus given the fact that Rodgers-Cromartie will turn 31 next month, and has a cap hit of $9 million this season and 8.5 million next season according to Spotrac, it’s only a matter of time until Apple replaces him.
At 6-foot-1, 199 pounds, he is the ideal size cornerback that you need. Plus, he’s just 21 and the Giants believe he can make similar strides in his second season the same way Landon Collins did. In fact the Giants believe Apple and Collins will be the cornerstone of the Giants defense for years to come.
But still was drafting Apple the right move for the Giants? We’ll let you chime in, should the Giants have drafted Tunsil, instead of Apple? Let us hear from you.