- Needs to improve in the run game
- Whiffs on tackles
- Needs to work on position. He takes himself out of some plays
- Makes contact high
- Played on both sides of the field
- Allows consistent separation in man coverage
- Will sometimes get caught playing on his heels
- Two year starter
Eli Apple is a cornerback with good size. At the Scouting Combine he measured in having 31 3/8 inch arms and 9 3/8 inch hands. The National Champion does a good job at getting his head around to see the ball but doesn’t always do a good job at playing it. It looks like he has a good awareness for seeing the play but not quick to react.
He allows a lot of separation that NFL quarterbacks will be able to tear apart. Eli Apple doesn’t appear to like to be in press coverage. He avoids contact. He doesn’t come up in the run game often and when he does, he just wants to lay in to the ball carriers with his shoulder. He will be taught how to tackle in training camp. He does a good job in being disciplined with keeping contain but sometimes will miss tackles and allow the ball carrier outside.
When Apple arrived on campus as a highly sought after recruit, he had an iron deficiency which limited him in practice and workouts. His next season, he started 14 of 15 games as a red-shirt freshman and was a key part of Ohio State’s National Title run.
Despite all the negative comments, Eli Apple has a lot of upside. His size and athleticism provide a rare combination that scouts will like at the NFL level. He had a good combine and impressed the media and scouts. He handled himself well in an interesting interview situation.
I think Eli Apple will be a late first or an early second round pick but after watching his tape, I think he should go later than that. With the importance of the cornerback position rising, one could see why teams are willing to take chances on defensive backs earlier in the draft but I think it will be a year or two before coaches will feel ready to put Eli Apple on an island.
Round Value: 3
Projected: Late 1/ Early 2