New York Giants: Eli Apple Showing Signs Of Progress
New York Giants rookie Eli Apple had the best performance of his career against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bob McAdoo weighs in on his development.
One could easily argue that the most difficult position to play as a rookie is cornerback. The NFL airs it out more than ever before and new rules have restricted the manner in which players can defend the pass.
Though he’s endured his fair share of struggles, New York Giants rookie Eli Apple is beginning to show intriguing signs of progress.
Apple played a career-high 73 snaps during the Giants’ 24-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The former Ohio State Buckeyes star stepped up with five tackles, a stuff against the run, a fumble recovery, and his first career interception.
According to Michael Eisen of Giants.com, head coach Bob McAdoo knows how important it was for Apple to make big plays against Pittsburgh.
"“Eli is a very talented player, obviously where we picked him this year in the draft (No. 10 overall). He’s a young player that is still developing. There’s going to be ups and downs. He did some very encouraging things in the ball game last week. The interception was one heck of a play to be able to come up with the ball there. We look forward to Eli to continue to keep growing.”"
It’s been a tumultuous first season, but Apple remains one of the most vital players to New York’s short-term goals and long-term vision.
Apple has been thrown to the wolves in 2016, with the results varying from promising to underwhelming. It doesn’t help that a hamstring injury limited him early and it took Weeks 7 and 9 for him to reclaim high snap counts.
Now that Apple is back in the mix as a featured cornerback, however, he appears primed and ready to justify the hype.
New York selected Apple at No. 10 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Some criticized the Giants for reaching for Apple before he was projected to come off the board, but the front office and coaching staff maintained that it was the right move.
With two big plays and an overall strong performance against the Steelers, Apple showed why faith has been so easy to find within the organization.
Apple helped Ohio State win the 2015 National Championship Game and was named Defensive MVP at the 2016 Fiesta Bowl. Many had Vernon Hargreaves III listed as the better prospect, however, which offered even more reason to question the pick.
With more performances like the one he had against Pittsburgh, Apple will silence his critics once and for all.
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The next test will be the biggest of his career, as the Giants host Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys in a game with significant postseason implications.