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Eli Apple selected after backroom intelligence crumble

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Who expected the Giants to take a chance on Eli Apple, huh?

Seemingly not even the Giants knew they were selecting him until the last minute as ESPN's NFL insider John Clayton said, "For the Giants, clearly it was intelligence failure" in a discussion with Matt Lombardo on his radio show, The Fanatic Sunday. 

The extremely raw cornerback from the brilliant Ohio State side that won the National Championship in 2014, only left high school three years ago and was a redshirt Sophomore when exiting the college system.


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On the other hand, his ideal size, frame and lightning-quick 40-yard dash time at the combine suggested he was a supreme athlete and consequently, he was predicted to be selected in the first-round of the draft. 

However, New York Giants didn't seem to be the place he would land.

The Giants backroom were very interested in taking either of two players at the tenth overall selection in the 2016 Draft, in Jack Conklin (Michigan State) and Leonard Floyd (Georgia), but after a host of trades, neither of those players were available when the Giants were put on the clock.

Conklin, a 6'6 offensive tackle from Michigan, was in high demand with a number of teams reporting they were interested in him after the combine and team visits.

Once the first seven athletes were drafted, many analysts were predicting Conklin to be selected at number eight, with the Giants being one of the favorites to trade up to get the potential pro-bowler. Consequently, trades ensued but the Giants were nowhere to be seen. 

The selection was traded initially from the Browns, through the Eagles to the Dolphins. But with Laremy Tunsil in freefall due to a video posted on his twitter moments before the draft, and the Miami franchise knowing they could select him with a later pick while gaining a valuable late-round selection in the process, they traded the pick with the Titans, who subsequently drafted the young Spartan to protect second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota. 

With Conklin off the board, the next suitable player for the Giants was Leonard Floyd, but after the Chicago Bears traded with the Buccaneers to attain the ninth overall pick, Floyd was selected and heading towards the Windy City. 

Giants then panicked, and selected the penalty-prone corner who will have to play at least a season as a slot corner in a system that he never learned at the Buckeyes, due to the Giants' talent outside. 

A better selection would have been Taylor Decker, a teammate of Apple at Ohio State. The leader of the offensive line and three-year starter could have entered the draft after the 2015 National Championship winning season, but instead, he gained a further year's experience in Ohio and is a better player for it. He eventually landed with the Lions at number 16. 

Another option would've been to take a risk with Laremy Tunsil, the most naturally talented player coming out of college in this year's draft but with aforementioned off-the-field issues. He would have filled the same position as Conklin and Decker, and if Tom Coughlin could tame the future superstar, he would have been a very intelligent selection.

Apple could become one of the best corners in the league, but with a short history of playing football and without the experience of playing in the slot, he doesn't look to be an instant success. Taking him with the tenth overall pick looks to be an overestimation of his predicted early performances in the NFL, and with better players left on the board that fitted the Giants' system, they missed a trick there.  

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New York Giants
Eli Manning
Roger Goodell
NFL Draft

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