Steve Spagnuolo has plenty of new weapons to work with on the defensive side of the ball this season. The New York Giants made a point to revamp their defense this offseason after finishing dead last in total yards allowed.
One of these new weapons is 10th overall pick Eli Apple, who will need to prove he is worthy of such a high selection.
Spagnuolo was asked about what caught his eye when assessing Apple during the pre-draft process:
“It was probably right before the Combine because that’s about when I start looking at it. But he’s one of those guys that I think there’s a lot of hidden production because he is kind of a press corner and they play real tight in some matchup coverages there at Ohio State. There’s a lot of times, in my opinion, that they don’t throw the ball over there. That’s a good trait. We grade that as hidden production and that’s important to us and so that did stick out. That’s a good football team that he just came from at Ohio State. Urban (Meyer) is a friend of mine and they do a great job. You knew that there was some thought process in the coverages and so we figure he can handle that. I think he’s a really good football player.”
Spagnuolo was also asked about any first impressions he had about some of the newcomers on defense. He mentioned that 3rd round pick Darian Thompson had already begun to stand out.
“The only thing I really could get a bead on… They have a quick unit meeting and then they split into position meetings. I actually spent most of my time in the D-Line room, but I was just looking to see intelligence. One of the first things we evaluate them on is the ability to learn. Based on what we’ve had so far it’s just been the learning. We didn’t do anything fast out here. It was more of a jog through, so it’s really tough right now. There were some guys out there. It’s just a 30 minute deal, but (Darian) Thompson I thought was barking out. That’s the first thing I look for in a safety. Will you be loud? Are you not afraid to make a mistake? I think that’s huge and that stuck out a little bit. We’ve got a long way to go though.”
It seems Spagnuolo likes what he has seen in limited action from these rookie defensive backs, although it is difficult to get a good feel so early in training camp.
Spagnuolo was asked whether he could tell right away how a player will turn out at rookie mini camp. He said:
“I’ll go back to the intelligence part. That should and will stick out in a two-day mini camp. What we try to do here is go fast right from the beginning. Now it’s a little chaotic because they’re nervous. The defense is new to them. The terms are new. But you see how guys react to it and so there will be a few things we’ll be able to pull out from this.”