EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Welcome to the NFL, Eli Apple. The New York Giants' first-round pick found himself thrown right into the fire Monday when the team opened organized team activities. With regular starting cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie absent from the voluntary workout, Apple lined up on the outside covering Giants star wideout Odell Beckham Jr.
"It was interesting, for sure," Apple said after practice Monday. "He runs his routes well. He's a fast guy. It was fun going against him. They didn't throw the ball his way when I was going against him, but you can tell, with his explosiveness and how he gets out of breaks. It's impressive."
Beckham wasn't Apple's only assignment this week in practice. He worked against Dwayne Harris and Myles White and whomever lined up against him when he was on the outside. For the most part, he held his own, though there were a couple of plays on which he slipped or turned the wrong way, as you'd expect from a 20-year-old rookie in his first NFL practice. It seemed as though quarterback Eli Manning was looking his way a lot, but Manning said that was just coincidence.
"Right now, it's just Day 1 of OTAs," Manning said. "We're not going after matchups or picking on guys. Just working on the basics and going through your progressions."
Apple has seen a variety of work early on. He worked in the slot Monday as well and surely did more of that Tuesday with Rodgers-Cromartie back on the field. Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins are the projected starting outside cornerbacks for the Giants this year, so if Apple wants to get on the field early, he might need to get comfortable covering slot receivers in that nickel corner role.
"It's not going to be an easy adjustment, for sure," Apple said. "I'm going to have to be in my playbook every day, talking to my coaches and trying to pick the brains of other guys and just get more experience out there. Getting more reps is definitely not a bad thing at all."