Giants’ 2016 selection of Eli Apple graded a D-minus five years later


The New York Giants haven’t had a whole lot of luck at the draft table over the past decade, and that ineptitude has been reflected in the standings. After winning Super Bowl XLVI in February 2012, Big Blue has had losing records in seven of nine seasons.

Take a look at the players they’ve drafted in the first round over that period. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, even though he’s being fitted for a Super Bowl ring at the moment, blew off nearly half his hand in fireworks accident. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. played his way out of town. Offensive Justin Pugh and cornerback Prince Amukamara didn’t earn a second contract with the team.

And those are the positive stories.

Erick Flowers was a disaster at left tackle. Running back/kick returner David Wilson suffered a neck injury and retired after playing in just 21 games. And then there was cornerback Eli Apple, selected 10th overall by the Giants in the 2016 NFL draft.

“Eli Apple spent plenty of time in the headlines for the wrong reasons as a Giants defensive back,” writes List Wire’s Barry Werner. “Whether it was issues with teammates or poor play on the field, Apple quickly turned rotten with Big Blue. He has not been much better with New Orleans or Carolina. He’s currently a free agent. Grade: D-minus.”

At the time, many draftniks shouted that he was overdrafted, and they were right. The Giants reached after getting aced out on several other players. Apple blew up his Giants career in so many ways, it’s embarrassing to even rehash it.

This pick would get an F grade had the Giants not traded Apple to New Orleans for a pair of draft picks. But even then, the return is dubious.

That brings us to the rest of the first-rounders, who are all recent picks and still with the team. Running back Saquon Barkley, after his Rookie of the Year season in 2018, has missed the better part of 18 of the Giants’ last 32 games.

Tight end Evan Engram made the Pro Bowl this season, but fans have had it with his inconsistent play and dropped passes. Quarterback Daniel Jones took a huge step back statistically in Year 2, throwing for just 11 touchdowns in 2019. By contrast, Justin Herbert threw for 13 touchdowns in a four-game stretch for a Chargers team that had little clue on offense this year.

This year’s top pick, offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, could not have had a worse beginning to his pro career, leading the league in pressures and sacks allowed.

The only first-rounder who has no issues is defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence. He’s actually becoming one of the league’s best interior linemen.

CEO John Mara said general manager Dave Gettleman has “raise his batting average.” He’s got one more shot this April to do so.



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