Eli Apple played corner-back for the Ohio State Buckeyes. When he entered as a freshman, Urban Meyer, head coach for Ohio State, decided to red-shirt him. During his next year at Ohio State, Eli Apple started 14 games for the Buckeyes. Playing as a red-shirt freshman, Apple starred at cornerback for Ohio State and was a big part of their national title run. In 2014 he totaled 53 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 10 pass break-ups. He also made the play of the game in the national championship against the Oregon Ducks. He intercepted Marcus Mariota’s final pass in collegiate football sealing the game for the Buckeyes. In the 2015 season Apple’s stats declined a bit, but he still shows a lot of promise. He has great size, a 40 time of 4.40, big hands, and is very competitive.
Some of Apple’s strengths are his footwork, which make him a good cover in press coverage because he can match his opponent. He is strong and can knock receivers off their normal routes, which disrupts quarterbacks and their timing greatly. He has great hands and is super competitive when the ball is in the air. In his past couple of years at Ohio State, he defended a total of 22 passes. Eli Apple’s work ethic and willingness to improve on his skills is also another, but the most important strength that he has.
One of Eli Apple’s biggest weakness is that he has a tendency to hold receivers or interfere with them when the pass is in the air. He tends to do this when he feels they are getting by him. During his 2014-15 season with the Buckeyes he had 4 holding penalties and 7 pass interference penalties called against him. To gain a starting role in the NFL his issue with penalties must be improved. Another one of Eli’s weaknesses that could hurt him badly in the NFL is that he is slow to anticipate what the quarterback is planning or where he is throwing to. Having a weakness like that could make Apple jump the wrong route leaving his man wide open. He has other minor weaknesses, but these are the main two.
Yes, Eli Apple has his weaknesses, but he can improve. He has a great work ethic so it is certain he will work hard to overcome his struggles he had at Ohio State. I do not see Apple as a first rounder, but I think he would be a solid pick for a team early in the second round.