Eli Manning is no longer the only Eli on the New York Giants roster. Big Blue surprisingly grabbed Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple with the No. 10 overall pick in Thursday night's draft. Cornerback wasn't necessarily a major area of need for the Giants after they signed Janoris Jenkins during free agency to pair alongside Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Steve Spagnuolo's defense finished last in total defense last season and Apple is regarded by many scouts as one of the top cornerback prospects in the draft behind Jalen Ramsey who went No. 5 to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Vernon Hargreaves III who went No. 11 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
At 6-foot-1 and 199 pounds, Apple should make an immediate impact with the Giants, but there are legitimate concerns about his technique and propensity for drawing penalty flags. The former Buckeye standout is clearly the Apple of General manager Jerry Reese's eye despite pundits suggesting that the defensive back was not worthy of a Top-10 selection.
"We thought (Eli) was a better player, that’s all you need to know," said Reese. "We thought he was a better player. We had him ranked higher, we thought he was a better player. We think Hargreaves is a good player, we thought this guy was a better player."
New York lost five games last season with the lead and else than 2:00 minutes remaining in the game last year due in large part to a leaky secondary and nonexistent pass-rush..
"He was absolutely a need pick," said Reese about selecting Apple. "Look out there at our corner depth, and you can see that."
Apple attended Eastern Regional High School in Voorheese, New Jersey and was rated as the state's top overall high school prospect in 2013. Apple won the BCS National Championship game with Ohio State in 2015 and was named the Defensive MVP of the 2016 Fiesta Bowl.