First-round pick Eli Apple is a talented young cornerback with a lot to learn. No offense to defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo or cornerbacks coach Tim Walton, but perhaps the person Apple will learn the most from is New York Giants super star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Apple lines up against Beckham every day in practice. He said Monday that Beckham “has been helping me out a lot.”
“He’s taught me how to just read routes better. He’ll tell me things from a receiver perspective, like what receivers look for,” Apple said. “The top of the route stuff he’s really been on me about. He’s telling me just trust my talent.”
What’s it like trying to cover Beckham?
“Odell’s a great receiver,” Apple said. “He’ll always pull something out that’s never expected … little things with his hands like he’ll pull you through. He’s a little guy but he knows how to use his hands the right way and he’s really savvy about using your force against you.”
For Apple, learning to play with his feet more and use his hands less has been a primary focus.
“It’s little things, it’s bad habits you’ve gotta break. In college it’s different,” Apple said. “You’ve gotta learn how to mirror guys better and use your feet more, kinda just cut ‘em off. I’m learning every day.”
With Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the outside and Leon Hall and Trevin Wade in the slot, there doesn’t appear to be an obvious path to a lot of playing time for Apple.
“I just want to do my best and find a way to get on that field and contribute,” he said. “Right now I’m just trying to focus on mastering my outside corner technique and I’m trying to get in my playbook and pick up everything fast. However I can contribute, I’m trying to do whatever I can to get on the field.”