Giants CB Eli Apple was the 10th overall pick in 2016 and final first-round defender acquired by former GM Jerry Reese. Ideally, he’d be an enticing selling point for Big Blue’s next coach and decision maker.
There’s nothing ideal, however, about the scathing critique teammate and two-time Pro Bowl S Landon Collins offered up of Apple on Tuesday on ESPN radio in New York.
“There’s one corner that needs to grow up, and we all know who it is,” Collins said. “That would be the only person I would change out of our secondary group. That first pick, he’s a cancer.”
It’s clear Apple has fallen on hard times in his second season, the second half of which the former Ohio State star has spent mostly on the bench due to a disconnect with his coaches. He was fined two weeks ago for tweeting during the loss to the Cowboys, when he was a healthy scratch, and he reportedly nearly walked out of a November film session in which he was being called out by coaches for giving questionable effort.
Apple running afoul with his coaches is hardly unique in the Giants secondary this season. Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie were each suspended by former coach Ben McAdoo for rules violations.
In fact, Collins hadn't backed up his MVP-caliber 2016, but he’s among the Giants most respected players, starting 48 consecutive games prior to suffering a season-ending broken arm in Week 16. Collins calling out his 22-year-old teammate, an 11-game starter on one of the NFL's best defenses as a rookie and supposedly one of the team's most valuable assets, offers a glimpse into the dysfunction that remains in the Giants locker room in the wake of Reese's and McAdoo’s dismissals.
And if the new general manager and coach decide they can’t work with Apple, well, his public undressing by Collins won’t help the young corner, shall we say, become the apple of potential trade suitors’ eyes.