2016 NFL Draft Prospects: breakdown of Ohio State’s Eli Apple
Ohio State’s Eli Apple 2016 NFL Draft Scouting Report.
Eli Apple is an in-your-face cornerback who loves to play tight man coverage. Ohio State often leaves him on an island in single coverage. Apple doesn’t possesses great size, but also isn’t afraid to play an aggressive brand of football.
He’s solid in run support where he does a great job coming up to set the edge. Apple doesn’t shy away from contact and will mix it out with offensive linemen. This clip shows Apple setting the edge and forcing the running back inside to the rest of the defense:
Obviously, Apple’s value comes with his ability to defend the pass. He uses a combination of balance, quickness and speed to hold up in coverage. His fluid movement skills allow him to adjust to routes and quickly change direction.
This clip shows Apple adjusting his positioning and sticking with his target:
His balance and good pad level also help him click and close on the ball. This limits the separation created by the receiver and opens things up for Apple to generate pass breakups or interceptions. Apple also shows the hands and ball skills to be a major turnover threat at the next level.
His lack of great size will be an issue for some teams as there’s been a push for bigger cornerbacks in the NFL. However, there’s still more value in defensive backs who can turn and run with a receiver. Size is a nice trait but it’s that coverage ability that is key.
Current Draft Position: Early 2nd Round