After a rocky rookie season, Landon Collins changed his diet, lost a dozen or so pounds, them proceeded to turn in an All-Pro sophomore campaign.
Eli Apple had a pretty good rookie season for the New York Giants. Like Collins, though, the 2016 first-round pick looked himself in the mirror after his rookie season and decided some things need to change.
Where Collins decided he needed to shed weight, Apple decided he needed to add weight and strength. He changed his eating habits, “throwing the junk food to the side a little bit.” He also hit the weight room, and showed up this year at 204 pounds, 10 pounds heavier than the weight he said he played at a year ago.
“I've been lifting a little bit. I think I put on a good 10 pounds since the season ended. I've been working, just a little bit,” Apple said Friday at OTAs. “I think I'll be more comfortable out there. I'll be able to move faster and quicker. I'm already faster and just being stronger, being able to tackle more. Just bigger running backs and stuff and being able to press bigger receivers.”
Apple said the added bulk has not cost him any speed, with the GPS monitoring equipment Giants players wear during practices registering that his last full practice was “the fastest I’ve ever moved since I’ve been here. So, I’m getting a little faster.”
Unfortunately, Apple did not participate in practices last week due to “just a little soreness” in his hamstring.
Apple told reporters that he “definitely” feels more comfortable entering his second season.
“That's probably that biggest difference, being able to see everything before it happens on the field. Being able to communicate more with teammates, like the defensive ends and linebackers, because you have to make a lot of calls in this defense,” Apple said. “I feel like I'm 10 times ahead of where I was last year with that. It's always going to be stuff to learn, so I'm just going to try to continue to learn.”
The Giants can only hope that the added weight, strength and experience help Apple make a jump similar to the one Collins experienced last season.