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

The New York Giants’ selection of CB Eli Apple in the 2016 NFL Draft looks even worse five years later.

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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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Debunking every ‘Don’t sign Dak’ excuse the Cowboys might believe

The Cowboys have a QB conundrum on their hands, and the answer is actually quite simple: pay the one you’ve already got.

Dateline, January 28, 2021: Offseason, Day 25.  Dak Prescott remains unsigned to a long term deal with the Dallas Cowboys.

As this saga enters yet another offseason, more and more people seem to be convincing themselves that perhaps not extending the young stud quarterback is actually the right move. This piece does not endorse that line of thinking. Let’s break down a couple of the most prominent arguments against re-signing Dak Prescott to a top-of-the-market extension, and why they are largely bunk.

Prescott No. 1 in 2016 redraft, Cowboys’ Elliott drops out of Top 10

Find out where Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott land in this 2016 redraft.

The 2016 NFL draft will always be memorable for Dallas Cowboy fans. It was the first time the Cowboys picked in the top five since 2003, and Dallas was able to acquire two franchise cornerstones in running back Ezekiel Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott, as well as a Pro Bowl caliber linebacker in Jaylon Smith.

In one of the best drafts in recent history, the Cowboys certainly fared well. So much so, that their talent has been distributed elsewhere in a new redraft. If it was all done over again with hindsight, the new landing spots for the Dallas stars would be elsewhere. Bleacher Report ‘s Brad Gagnon authored the exercise that moved Prescott up to first overall.

It’s mind blowing that Prescott fell all the way to No. 135 in the original draft, but in the redraft the mistake was not repeated. Arguments can be made for division rival Carson Wentz to be taken first overall, but ultimately Prescott has been just as good as Wentz and much more durable.

Prescott hasn’t missed a game in his four-year career, and is coming off his best season through the air yet, with over 4,900 passing yards.

Elliott was originally selected fourth however the redraft wasn’t as kind as it was to Prescott. The former Buckeye All-American slid to the Falcons at selection no. 17.

That spot feels entirely too low for a player of Elliott’s caliber, when considering some of the skill position players taken ahead of Elliott in the redraft. Wide receiver Tyler Boyd was four spots ahead at no. 13.

The do-it-all running back has lead the league in rushing in two of his three full seasons, and is as solid out of the backfield and in pass protection as nearly every back in the game. Gagnon is likely speaking to the value of the running back position in today’s game, but Elliott’s elite skill set and talent aren’t up for debate.

So if Prescott is off the board, and Elliott wouldn’t go until later, who did the Cowboys end up with in the fourth slot of the redraft?

They were able to pick up the original first pick, quarterback Jared Goff. Goff had his ups and downs but has led a team to a Super Bowl appearance.

Later in the draft, Smith ended up being selected by the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 28. The marriage makes sense, considering Andy Reid’s team has snatched up former Cowboys linebackers Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson in back-to-back free agent classes.

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