It looks like a clean slate for at least one former New York Giants first-round pick as Eli Apple will have a shot to wipe away a difficult 2017 season. Perhaps his third year in the NFL will be the chance for Apple to build on the momentum of his rookie season.
Between injuries, health issues within his family and a suspension from the team, last year was certainly a forgettable one for Apple. But as he demonstrated in 2016 during his rookie season, the young cornerback has plenty of talent and potential.
And young is certainly still the word here as Apple will turn 23 years old in what will be his third NFL training camp. He is long and athletic and his college game tape from three years ago certainly points to a first-round pick. The Giants took Apple ninth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, liking his film so much that they ignored pressing needs such as the offensive line to take him.
Both defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo and assistant defensive backs coach Deshea Townsend sounded support for Apple as they hope for a bounce-back year from the former Ohio State standout. Both coaches spoke on Wednesday from the team’s facility.
“At the end of the day, the guy is still a very, very young guy and a very young player. I liked him coming out of Ohio State,” Anarumo said. “When he walks in the room and you don’t know anything, you see a big, tall, long, athletic guy and in this league, there’s just not a ton of those guys. So with a guy that’s that young and going to be in a position to make plays, I can’t wait to start working with him on Monday.”
Townsend, who spent 13 years in the NFL and won two Super Bowls as a player, also echoed the words of Anarumo. A former standout cornerback himself, Townsend listed quite a few accolades when talking about Apple the player.
“Well, you know, there’s a reason you went in the first round. He’s a big guy, he can run, he’ll tackle and that’s the thing it takes to be a good corner if you can get close in coverage,” Townsend said. "Everybody, every day, the one thing you can always control is your technique. We’ll work that daily. Tackling, you’ll work that. But he has God-given ability that most people don’t have. He’s 6-foot-1-inch, runs a 4.4 and he’ll hit you. So, that’s something good to work with.”