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CB Eli Apple has the right stuff to be a key piece in the Redskins secondary

Mar 16, 2016, 12:33 PM EDT


Redskins draft countdown

The NFL draft is 43 days away and there is plenty of speculation as to what players Scot McCloughan will select to wear the burgundy and gold. Between now and the draft we’ll look at some of the players who might be of interest to the Redskins and discuss how he might fit in Washington.

Eli Apple
Ohio State

Height: 6-1
Weight: 199
40-yard dash: 4.40

Projected draft round: 1


What they’re saying

Apple possesses several traits for the cornerback position that translate well to the next level with his size, length and athleticism. Apple isn’t afraid to be physical and contest at the top of routes, but he’s still learning what he can get away with and what will draw flags – desired length for the position, but NFL teams will be forced to live and die with his hands-on contact while he figures it out.

He is also an aggressive run defender, but needs to be more measured with his break down mechanics as a tackler. Apple is still very young and with that comes discipline issues, but he consistently stays in phase in press or off-man coverage and has upside.

Dane Brugler, CBS Sports

How he fits the Redskins: As of now, the Redskins have only one cornerback, Bashaud Breeland who is likely to be a key part of the defense in 2017. Breeland will be going into the final year of his rookie contract. Beyond him the picture is murky. Chris Culliver will count over $9 million against the salary cap and he will be 29 with two serious knee injuries in his past. Will Blackmon will be 32 and Quinton Dunbar is currently a project who may or may not develop into a front-line player.

The Redskins need another long-term solution at cornerback and Apple could be it. In a division with physical wide receivers like Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham you need physical corners. Apple fills the bill there with good length and a willingness to mix it up with the receivers he is defending.

He has been in some big-time games. As a redshirt freshman Apple was the starter during the Buckeyes’ run to the 2014 national title. His interception of Marcus Mariota’s last collegiate pass put the final seal in the title game against Oregon.

Potential issues: He came out of Ohio State after his redshirt freshman season so he is still quite green. Sometimes Apple being physical with receivers turned into him grabbing their jerseys, a tactic that will draw plenty of yellow flags in the NFL.

Bottom line: Apple is clearly a first-round talent in the eyes of many. He has the length that Scot McCloughan likes in defensive backs and he seems to be plenty fast enough to keep up with almost any receiver.

If McCloughan drafts Apple and they get Breeland signed to a long-term extension before his rookie deal expires the Redskins could have a pair of corners equipped to deal with the best receivers in the division and around the league for the next five years.

In his own words

On what about his game best translates to the NFL:

Just my press man cover skills. That’s something in the NFL that’s really important, to be a physical guy at the line of scrimmage and be able to take receivers off their path. And that’s something I do better than anybody, in my opinion. My press technique is to me better than everybody out there. That’s the main thing I do. I’m a physical guy and I get up on receivers and impact that.

Previously in Redskins draft countdown:

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 16, 2016 at 1:58 PM

    Baylor is having its pro day today.

    Gil Brandt ‏@Gil_Brandt 31m31 minutes ago

    Andrew Billings with 4.85 40 (unofficial) on first attempt at Baylor pro day. Ran 5.05 at #NFLCombine.

    Gil Brandt ‏@Gil_Brandt 2h2 hours ago

    Corey Coleman with 4.37 40 (unofficial) on second try at #ProDayBU.

    As for Apple, I was for him earlier, but now I don’t know. I’ll let Scot decide! ;-)

    • bangkokben - Mar 16, 2016 at 2:36 PM

      There seems to be a bunch of legitimate options to improve this team. McC can do it.

      • lezziemcdykerson - Mar 16, 2016 at 5:43 PM

        Considering I don’t think we’re that far off in defense. A legit NT or a shutdown corner (hell I’d even settle for a pro-level ready corner) and our defense would improve drastically. Maybe walk outta there with a C, WR/RB/TE, and depth at LB.

    • Chad - Mar 19, 2016 at 1:04 PM

      I go by combine 40’s. They are true 40’s. Pro days are done by hand. You always see faster times by hand, it takes the human brain a few tenths, or few hundreds of a second to react and tell the hand to. start, and stop. The combine are constant for everyone. They mad be a bit slower, but they like that for everyone. DL by the way, 40 is trash, the 10 yard split is the important number.

  2. bangkokben - Mar 16, 2016 at 2:40 PM

    So LeRibs is back. Does that mean we’re rolling with what’s here for center?

    • James McFullan - Mar 16, 2016 at 3:38 PM

      He only signed a 1 year $1.5 million dollar contract. They may be looking to move on from Kory and just want to have depth. Plus he can play both guard and center.

    • kenlinkins - Mar 16, 2016 at 6:30 PM

      I think LeRib is just Plan B in case whoever we draft isn’t ready for the starting position.

      • Chad - Mar 19, 2016 at 1:16 PM

        Sorry for double post, said error posting, so I rewrote it…then it showed both. My apologies

    • Chad - Mar 19, 2016 at 1:09 PM

      No. Just because we sign players doesn’t mean 1) they are starters, 2) they are even gonna be here after camp. 3) thier contract won’t be terminated.
      We need 90 players for Pre season, cutting down to 53 for 1st week season. We still have the draft, then UDFA, then teams cut vets that rookies replace we can sign. You won’t see what we are rolling with until the week of the first reg season game. AND, even that’s subject to change as other teams cut players throughout the year.
      So to answer your questions, NO, not even close.

    • Chad - Mar 19, 2016 at 1:14 PM

      Lol no…not even close. Still to go…

      1. FA still going on
      2. Draft
      3. UDFA
      4. VETS cut in preseason now available
      5. Vets cut during season are available
      We need 90 players for Preseason , this team isn’t even close to being done.

  3. Just sayin' tho - Mar 16, 2016 at 3:17 PM

    I don’t know about Eli Apple, he has good upside but think his technique needs a little tweaking. I say late 1st round early 2nd round. I do like Jalen Ramsey. Versatile and isn’t afraid to mix it up. If he drops to 21, I think Scot should go for him. Breeland and Ramsey would make a nice combination.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 16, 2016 at 3:45 PM

      You’re not going to find a single prospect at No. 21 who doesn’t need some degree of work on technique and/or some flaw in his game. If they don’t they aren’t available at No. 21.

    • hail74 - Mar 16, 2016 at 3:51 PM

      I don’t see anyway that Ramsey falls to 21. He’s widely considered a top 5 pick.

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 16, 2016 at 4:06 PM

        Right now Ramsey is considered the number 1 pick, since the Titans are making noises they want him more than Tunsil.

    • kenlinkins - Mar 16, 2016 at 6:54 PM

      IMO Apple is not NFL ready today but has the tools to become a starter in the NFL. IMO he would not benefit much from staying at Ohio State another year and with a first round grade he is making the correct move. He will play in sub packages early in 2016 and be able to make a push for a starting spot by 2017. Time and good coaching are now this mans best friends. I would not be up set if the Redskins drafted him even with the holes I now see in is game. In this pass happy NFL all DB come with some risk, so why not take on early if he fits your plans.

  4. Bryan - Mar 16, 2016 at 3:44 PM

    What do y’all think bout kicking tires on will hill pretty decent safety. And he is young

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 16, 2016 at 4:07 PM

      Amazing that Will Hill was dropped. There’s got to be a story behind that.

      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 16, 2016 at 5:33 PM

        Adam Schefter Verified account@AdamSchefter

        Ravens’ S Will Hill has been suspended 10 games for violating NFL’s substance abuse policy

  5. scottmccloughanfan - Mar 16, 2016 at 6:48 PM

    LeRIBEUS is back? Retch. My least favorite REDSKIN.

    I suppose the second round center is off the table then.

    LICHTENSTEIGER and LeRIBEUS…………the point of attack, manned by those two. Make-do another year. Sigh!

    Maybe AUSTIN REITER will be the answer long-term, or we’ll have to revisit this problem again next season.

    • bk70 - Mar 17, 2016 at 10:06 AM

      Surely the GM will draft a Center in the early rounds to compete with Lichtensteiger and LeRibeus. I’d like to see Ryan Kelly/Alabama or Nick Martin/Notre Dame. Looks like 2-5 teams will also select a Center early also.
      I’m thinking Reiter has a ways to go before he makes the 53 man roster. Another year on Practice Squad.
      Poor Trent Williams has worked with 10 different starting centers. Would be nice to get a long term solution this year. Maybe a top tier OL and bring back the good ole days with the Hogs.

  6. troylok - Mar 16, 2016 at 7:07 PM

    I would take Apple in a heartbeat if he was available. He is a corner that kind of fits the Seattle philosophy of bigger and more physical corners.

  7. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 16, 2016 at 7:24 PM

    FWIW, PFF just released their newest top 100 draft board.

  8. James McFullan - Mar 16, 2016 at 8:30 PM

    Rich, the way I see it, the Redskins still haves holes at FS, SS, CB, NT, DE, C, RB, & possibly LG. How are the Redskins going to fill those holes? Personally, I think they get Reggie Nelson to fill in this year and then next year get a young player. I think they trade for a SS, draft a DE, C, CB, and CB with the first 4 picks this year.

  9. Bryan - Mar 16, 2016 at 9:14 PM

    I like apple just like I like Mckenzie from Clemson but I would love to get reed rankins or even Robinson at 21 then go CB or c in 2nd if possible. Now that being said I won’t complain if Scot m gets him at 21.

  10. smotion55 - Mar 17, 2016 at 8:29 AM

    Take him ONLY if GM gets a real good plug in and play NT later in the draft or in free agency period. Without a real good NT the run game suffers like last year and your secondary will not hold up against good teams most of the time. This GM always seems to find secondary players later in the draft and since it is deep with corners I hope he can find 1 later. We need a 7 to 8 year player at NT in this draft and several should be their in the 1st round. Archives

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