EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYorkAP) — The New York Giants are going all out to fix the NFL's worst defense.
After signing four potential defensive starters in free agency, the Giants added a piece to the secondary, taking Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple with the 10th pick overall in the draft on Thursday night.
The addition gives the Giants three quality cornerback in a league where teams now use three receivers almost 60 percent of the time.
The 20-year-old Apple joins recently signed free agent Janoris Jenkins and veteran Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie in giving coordinator Steve Spagnuolo three cornerbacks who can press opposing receivers.
"He is a young, combative, physical guy," new coach Ben McAdoo said of 6-foot-1, 200-pound Apple. "He likes to tackle. He can make plays off the backside edge to the boundary. He is aggressive in the running in the running game. It's hard to find guys that size, that young, who have his skill set."
The Giants didn't mind that Apple's interceptions went from three in 2014 to one in 2015.
"Sometimes the stats lie," said Marc Ross, the Giants vice president of player evaluation. "When you watch the film, there is stat production and real production. If you watch this guy, he can lock people down, where they don't even throw his way."
After missing the playoffs the past four seasons, general manager Jerry Reese signed defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Damon Harrison, Jenkins and middle linebacker Keenan Robinson in free agency.
Analysts predicted the Giants might draft an offensive tackle or a linebacker in the first round.
Things got interesting when Chicago Bears traded up to the No. 9 spot and took Georgia linebacker Leonard Floyd, whom the Giants liked. That left controversial offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil of Mississippi, a projected No. 1 overall pick whose stock plummeted after a bizarre video was posted on his Twitter account minutes before the start of the draft showed a person smoking from a gas mask equipped with a bong.
The Giants selected Apple.
"He was the highest graded player on our board, beyond the guys with issues" Reese said.
Apple, of Vorhees, New Jersey, was the third Ohio State player taken in the top 10 after defensive lineman Joey Bosa and running back Ezekiel Elliott. He had 56 tackles and four interceptions in two seasons with the Buckeyes, and now he joins a team with another Eli — two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.
"We hope he makes a name for himself," Ross said. "He has a perfect name for New York."
Apple, who was recently criticized by a scout for not knowing how to cook and not having many life skills, said the Giants only talked to him once at the NFL combine. He seemed a little surprised he was taken at No. 10.
"When I saw the New Jersey number calling me, it looked kind of familiar," Apple said. "I didn't know if I had to pick it up. I was thinking: 'Oh my goodness, this is one of my friends, prank-calling me,' so I said to my Mom, 'Don't pick it up.'"
Someone in the room made them pick up the call, and it was McAdoo.
His Giants career was underway.
"My Dad was an Eagles fan," he said. "He still is a little bit, but he is not going to be for too long."
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
for more features.