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Eli Apple Selected 10th Overall in 2016 NFL Draft

NFL: Eli Apple

With the 10th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the New York Giants have selected Eli Apple, Cornerback from Ohio State University.

Apple was the 3rd Buckeye selected in the first round, following Joey Bosa at #3 and Ezekiel Elliot at #4. At 6-foot 1, Apple benefits from his size in a 2016 Cornerback class lacking height.

A much better man than zone defender, Apple is relatively quick (4.40 40-yard dash) and known for his ability to mirror even the most athletic, elusive receivers he’s faced. This fluidity is an outstanding mark of an effective cover corner, and for that the Giants should be grateful. Apple goes up to compete with passes at their highest point, and is equally effective in run support by shedding blockers and turning runners inside or securing tackles himself. Don’t expect a crushing blow, and understand that he will still whiff on a ball-carrier. Relax, he’s a Cornerback.

A concerning flaw in Apple’s game rears its head from time-to-time, however. In certain situations, the lengthy defender loses his awareness for the ball despite being in a favorable position to make a play (Eagles fans, see: Bradley Fletcher). Great technique will only get you so far if you’re unable to break-up a pass. This could be a reason that Apple only notched 1 interception in 2015

He’ll have to work on his hand position, too. Per Pro Football Focus, the redshirt sophomore has a tendency to be “grabby” in coverage. Referees are even quicker to throw flags in the NFL than at the collegiate level, and the pass interference penalty, as well all know, is much steeper. What would have been a 15-yard penalty at Ohio State could now be a spot-foul resulting in 1st and Goal from the 1 if Apple isn’t careful.

Sure, he may have been drafted higher than expected, but it’ll be on Apple’s shoulders to prove that the Giants made the right selection.

Photo via Flickr.com

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