If you want someone in the NFL Draft, you sometimes need to take them one round earlier than what you would like. Such is the case for the New York Giants should they wish to acquire Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple. The Giants pick 10th overall, and won't pick again until the 40th pick. Apple is slated to go somewhere in the late-teens to early 20s, so if the team thinks he can truly make a difference, would they pull the trigger early?
- Insane measurables. Height and frame gives him a natural advantage.
- Ideally suited to man and press coverage schemes.
- Has the strength to reroute receivers at the line, and muscle for catches in the air.
- Prototypical "outside" cornerback with two years experience against top college WRs.
- Penalty prone. Lots of pass-interference calls go against him for being too handsy.
- Tackling technique could be improved, may be a liability if alone in the open field.
- Struggles in zone coverage; needs receiver as guideline to make a play.
- Risky playing style.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 24th
Mocking The Draft - 18th
CBS - 16th
Draft Tek - 21st
Does He Fit With the Giants?
You need three good cornerbacks -- minimum. The Giants have two good CBs and a bunch of question marks, so yeah, I think Apple could fit with the Giants. I would imagine that despite being the team's third CB, he would play outside when on the field, bumping Janoris Jenkins inside for slot duty. I mean, Apple could play the slot just fine, and his large frame may prompt the coaches to try him against tight ends who line up away from the formation, but ideally he should be an outside man-based corner.
He has been penalty prone, and I could imagine that causing problems in his rookie year as he learns to refine his craft, but if you look west towards Seattle, those guys have perfected the art of receiver "adjustment," and I have no doubt that Apple could, too. That's not to say this guy is the next Richard Sherman, because that's a bit like saying "Quarterback prospect is the next Tom Brady". In fact, my pro comparison for Apple would be a different NFC West corner; Patrick Peterson. He's a little more raw coming out than Peterson was, but he's a prospect that signals he's heading in a similar direction.
It all comes down to how the team wants to use the 10th pick in the draft. If they think Apple is worth it, then they should do it because it's highly unlikely that he falls into the second round. There are four top-tier cornerbacks in this draft -- Vernon Hargreaves, Mackensie Alexander, and William Jackson III being the other three -- and it's entirely feasible to imagine that none of them make it out of the top 20, such is the league-wide need for talent at that position.
If Apple is the pick, he gives the secondary a huge boost heading into next year. At least one of the two safety spots are still a question mark, so giving that unit an iron-clad front of three rock-solid corners would be the easiest way to assure minimal stress on the back end of the pass-defense. If none of the top pass-rushers in the draft are available, going with a strong corner could make the biggest impact to a defense still with considerable room for improvement.