Eli Apple, CB — New York Giants
School: Ohio State | Conference: Big Ten
College Experience: RS Sophomore | Age: 20
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 199 lbs
Drafted: 1st round, 10th pick (#10 overall)
NFL Comparison: Sam Shields
Player Overview — Original Profile
A rare combination of athleticism and smarts, Eli Apple has both a high floor and a high ceiling. He had a strong Combine performance, though he only took part in the 40, bench press and positional drills, and he offers plenty of impressive tape. He has very good instincts and typically is prepared to make the right play, even if he doesn't always execute. Apple brings to the table an NFL-ready body, national championship experience and two seasons of starting at the highest level of college football.
Where He Can Hurt The Redskins
Apple was seen by most analysts as a reach at the No. 10 pick — I had him going in the late first round in my original profile — and while he might very well be a good player at the pro level, it was definitely a surprising pick. John Clayton called it "intelligence failure." But that's not important. He's on the Giants now, and his draft position will be irrelevant as long as he performs.
He's already matching up with Odell Beckham Jr. in practice — a hell of a way to start one's NFL career, and a great way to get introduced to the division, which features Dez Bryant, Jordan Matthews and Pierre Garcon/DeSean Jackson/Josh Doctson. Considering the Giants already boast a potentially lethal cornerback duo in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins, Apple might be most likely to face Doctson of all those receivers. If the No. 10 overall pick is your third cornerback, you're probably doing pretty well in the secondary, and while rookie cornerbacks often struggle, he should be able to step into his role nicely without too much pressure.
Washington might be able to take advantage of the 20-year-old rookie, but it's not going to be easy. If Apple spends the majority of his time on Doctson, Doctson should have the advantage, as it's much harder to transition from college to pro as a cornerback than it is as a receiver. It very well might be the first time we see the Redskins' first-round pick in a featured role in the offense in 2016 for that reason, and regardless of who wins that matchup (if it actually matriculates), it should be fun to watch. What more can you ask for in a Week 3 matchup? It should also be fun to see how he and Doctson have both grown when they meet again in Week 17.
For the record, here's what Apple had to say about the Josh Norman vs. Odell Beckham scuffle a year ago.
Q: What did you think of that tussle he got into with Josh Norman?
A: It was very entertaining. I had so much fun watching it. That was probably the best game to watch ever, it was so entertaining. It just shows like he has that dog in him, and he’s not gonna let anybody just roll over him.
Q: But it also shows that Norman got into his head, right?
A: I don’t know about all that. It just shows that he was anxious for the competition, Odell was, to go against a great corner, and maybe that anxiousness probably took him out of his game for a little bit, but he saw it and came back and made a couple of big plays.