METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints added to their aggressive flurry of trades this year by sending fourth- and seventh-round draft picks to the New York Giants for cornerback Eli Apple on Tuesday.
The fourth-round pick is in the 2019 draft and the seventh-round pick is a 2020 selection.
( Via ESPN.com)
First thought is, I am not a fan of this at all. I appreciate New Orleans trying to shore up this defense as they make a Super Bowl push, but this isn’t it. The Saints currently have the 31st ranked defensive secondary according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). A corner is needed but it isn’t Eli Apple.
The 10th overall pick in 2016 had a pretty lackluster career with the Giants and caused ripples throughout the team in 2017. He was suspended for the last game of the season for fighting with coaches. Giants star Safety, Landon Collins, went as far as calling Apple a “Cancer” in the locker room.
The back end of the defense has struggled as a whole this season. Lattimore is currently the best ranked corner on the Saints by PFF with a grade of 63.2 Apple is actually ranked higher this season with a grade of 64.1. To put the numbers into context, 50.0 is considered average. So adding a corner who is rated better then the reigning defensive rookie of the year seems like a great idea, except he comes with baggage.
He has been known to cause issues as mentioned above and it isn’t his coverage skills that worry me. He has been one of the worst tacklers in the league this season. Apple has missed seven tackles on 26 attempts this year. his PFF grade for tackling in 36, seeing how 50 is average I would think it is fair to say, that isn’t great.
The bright spot will be if he can improve from what Ken Crawley has done this season. Crawley burst onto the scene last year after being benched early on. He earned his spot back from PJ Williams after his benching and never looked back. This year he was benched, then came back and still isn’t producing. Here is a great stat to see what we will be watching, possibly come the Vikings game.
Quick stats on #Saints new cornerback Eli Apple vs Crawley/Williams per SportsRadar
Apple: 22 Tackles, 1 FF, 5 PDs, "burned" 20 times on 296 snaps (1 every 14.8 snaps)
Crawley: 29 tkls, 3 PDs, "burned" 32/344 (1 every 10.75 snaps)
Williams: 16 tkls, 1 PD, 19/207 (1 every 10.89)
— Deuce Windham (@RevDeuceWindham) October 23, 2018
So Apple is out performing what we have and fits Dennis Allen’s zone system. If he can improve on what the Saints have, it could be what New Orleans needs to get over the hump.
I really want this to work as all Saints fans do. Giving up a fourth rounder when we already don’t have a first and third round pick is frustrating. Nothing has been said about Patrick Peterson but Adam Schefter mentioned multiple teams were interested, including the Saints. The former LSU star would be well worth a package of draft picks and would have a major impact on this defense.
I wanted Peterson and got Apple. It may be unreasonable to think the Saints could have executed the trade but hey, a girl can dream.
Let us know what you think of the trade below. Do you like the trade or do you think it was a waste of a pick?