The first round of the 2016 NFL Draft may not have worked out the way the New York Giants expected on Thursday. Cornerback Eli Apple has potential worthy of being excited about and may turn out to be a fine player, but when the draft began no one could have expected him to end up being selected 10th overall by the Giants. He certainly didn't expect that to happen.
Let's look at how the Giants' brain trust reacted to the selection of Apple and the events that led up to it. I am going to present these as pretty much straight forward comments without much, if any, analysis. Chris has already offered his thoughts, and I will probably add more analysis on Friday. For now, let's just look at what the Giants' decision makers had to says.
GM Jerry Reese
"A really good, young player. Height, weight, speed. Big school. Only 20 years old. Has all the tools. He holds all the tools to be a starter. He was the highest graded player on our board, beyond the guys with issues."
On whether or not he was surprised by how the night played out.
"We've got scouts who did a nice job with our board and the board came off very similar ... the names came off very similar to how we had them stacked up."
On the possibility of trading down.
"I don't know if it was ever a possibility. We got a call, we didn't like it, and we stayed where we were."
"You never know what people are going to do during the draft. We knew there were going to be nine picks in front of us. People say they knew or thought something was going to happen in front of us, you don't know that, nobody knows until the name is turned in. We're very happy to have this player, this is a good player. He's a terrific young player, and it's a need pick. It's a value pick where we had him ranked, and it's absolutely a need pick. Look out there and see our corner depth, you guys can see that. ... I tell you guys every year...every year during the draft, something funny happens. It's no different this year."
On whether Apple can play in the slot.
"I think he can play all over. He is big, he's over six foot. He's a 200 pounder, ran 4.4. He can play somewhere back there for us."
On why the Giants didn't select Vernon Hargreaves, who was ranked higher on most prospect big boards.
"We thought (Eli) was a better player, that's all you need to know. We thought he was a better player. We had him ranked higher, we thought he was a better player. We think Hargreaves is a good player, we thought this guy was a better player."
Head coach Ben McAdoo
" ... combative, physical corner who interviewed great. [He] tackled well on tape. We like his size, we like his length, good ball skills --- that showed up, which is something that he is working on, and we are excited to get him in here."
On what it was like watching the first nine picks, and whether the Giants had to adjust their plan.
"That was exciting. I mean it is like anything else, you go through the process, trust your board, you see how things come off and you hope you have somebody sitting up there you like when it comes time to pick, and we obviously did and we are excited we have Eli.
"We planned to pick the highest guy on the board and Eli is a guy who is an outstanding young man, high character, good football player, his best days are ahead of him as a player and we are excited to have him."
On Apple being only 20 years old.
"He is young but he is mature. He showed that in the interview where he could --- he did a great job communicating with us about football, about things that weren't about football, about his personal life. He did a great job when the film was on. He can jump on the board and communicate that way, so he is a mature young man who comes from an outstanding program that has a lot of great players and he shined there."
VP of Player Evaluation Marc Ross
On what attracted the Giants to Apple.
"We like Eli just because he's the number one corner on our board. The guy is big. He's fast. He's athletic. He's clean off the field. He's got tremendous upside. He played at a high level on a quality defense with a lot of other playmakers and guys that were going to be drafted. We just felt this guy would come in, and with the cornerback group we have, fit in right away and give you some versatility. It was a need position. It was value and need and it worked out good for us."
On whether the Giants considered moving up.
"No. We were comfortable sitting right there. That's part of the thing that gets discussed the last few days. Should we move up? But this guy is here. Should we move down? What happens there? This was a scenario where we were comfortable just sitting right there where we were."
On the idea that the Giants reached for Apple.
"We've heard it before. We've taken other players that (were called) a reach. Nobody knows. If you get a dime for every expert, I could retire. Come on. Experts? People analyze. People have opinions. What's it based on? Nobody has seen the tape. Nobody goes to practice. Nobody puts in the work like the scouts do. It's easy to second-guess and pick and say get everybody's pick right and tell them what they should do, but you've just got to put in the work and trust what you do."