After watching the two players most analysts considered their primary targets come off the board right before they were scheduled to select, the New York Giants used the 10th pick of the 2016 NFL Draft to select Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple.
The Giants saw the Tennessee Titans select offensive tackle Jack Conklin eight overall after moving from 15th in a trade with the Tennessee Titans. The Chicago Bears, who had the 11th overall pick, then traded with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to move to ninth and select Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. Conklin and Floyd had been considered the Giants' primary targets.
The Giants then opted for Apple, a move few would have suspected entering the day. Apple was selected for the Giants by absolutely no one in mock drafts leading up to Thursday night. The 20-year-old Apple is a Voorhees, N.J. native.
Most analysts expected Florida's Vernon Hargreaves to be selected before Apple, but the Giants opted for the 6-foot-1, 200-pound former Buckeye.
Here is part of what Dane Brugler of CBS Sports wrote about Apple in his his draft guide:
"He possesses several traits for the cornerback position that translate well to the next level with his size, length and athleticism. Apple isn't afraid to be physical and contest at the top of routes, but he's still learning what he can get away with and what will draw flags - desired length for the position, but NFL teams will be forced to live and die with his hands-on contact while he figures it out. He is also an aggressive run defender, but needs to be more measured with his break down mechanics as a tackler. Apple is still very young and with that comes on-field discipline issues, but he consistently stays in phase in press or off-man coverage and has appealing upside to be an impact NFL starter."
Charlie Campbell of Walter Football had this to say about Apple:
"Great skill set, has the tools to be a No.1. But he is raw and needs development."
The review from Pro Football Focus in its draft guide indicates this pick is all about potential:
Eli Apple may be the main beneficiary of a cornerback class lacking a lot of size at the top end. He displays the ability to play man coverage extremely well, and has the size and speed profile NFL teams are looking for, but he has never earned PFF grades that match the best cover corners in this class, and has enough flaws in his game that he is not a surefire top pick. He'll likely be drafted higher than his play suggests he should be, but the potential to become an excellent corner at the next level is definitely there.
Here is NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock's reaction to the pick:
"He's only three years removed from high school. He has all kind of potential and is clean off the field. His tape is up and down. He's tall, fast and physical, but inconsistent and it's all because of a lack of reps."
Apple is ranked 26th on the Big Blue View Big Board.
Giants' Draft Picks
Round 1 (10th) -- Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State
Round 2 (No. 9, 40th overall) --
Round 3 (No. 8, 71st overall) --
Round 4 (No. 11, 109th overall) --
Round 5 (No. 10, 149th overall) --
Round 6 (No. 9, 184th overall) --
Defensive line, linebacker, safety, wide receiver, offensive line
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More useful links
- Complete NFL Draft order
- NFL Draft trade value chart
- Scouting reports from Stephen White
- SB Nation bloggers mock draft
- SB Nation's top 300 players