Eli Apple   CB   Ohio St

Eli has very good overall cover skills. He has the quick twitch athleticism that teams look for in a cover corner. He can run and flip his hips and has the size to stay with the bigger receivers as well as staying with the smaller quicker receivers. Eli loves to cover the top receiver when he is on the field and shows good confidence and the ability to turn that page after he gets beat. Although he looks on film to be more quick than fast, as long as he uses good techniques that should not be a problem for Eli at the next level. Eli has good potential to become a cover corner for the team that selects him.

Eli struggles with a lack of bulk and consistency in tackling. Without the bulk, Eli will struggle handling bigger receivers who will push him around and gain easy separation on third down plays. He shies away from being the first guy in on a tackle. Eli doesnít have the good hands to intercept the ball and make impact plays. Although Eli has good size, he lacks the mental toughness and tackling techniques to be used at any of the positions in the defensive backfield except as strictly a coverage corner back. If he gains the mental toughness to tackle players in the open field, then with his cover skills, Eli could develop into a solid cornerback for the team that selects him.

There is a lot of talent to work with and it is impressive talent, but not WANTING to tackle a player coming around on a sweep or screen play to your side as a cornerback is a big problem for me. Itís possible that Eli possesses the mental toughness and is just hiding because it because he doesnít want to get injured, but that just raises other red flags for me if thatís the case. Playing cornerback in the NFL is mentally a very tough position because of all the tackling and shedding blocks in the open field that is required of you. Mentally you have to have the mindset of a kamikaze special teams player to recognize, shed a block and make a tackle on a bigger player going full speed right at you. Itís mentally hard to do, but it is necessary and unless you are committed to doing all of those things you wonít be successful at the NFL level and I donít care how well you cover a receiver down the field. Nevertheless, Eli has excellent over all finesse cover skills and that alone is worth selecting him and hoping he develops the type of mentality and bulk to become the cornerback his athletic talent suggests that he could become. You never know, that toughness could be hiding in there somewhere!

Drew Boylhart  FEB.2016