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Why the Saints Trade for Former Giants CB Eli Apple Might Not Be as Bad as You Think

Not surprisingly, Who Dat fans are upset that the Saints made a trade earlier today with the New York Giants to acquire the services of 3rd year CB and former 1st Round draft pick Eli Apple; instead of being able to land their preferred choice at CB before next week's League-imposed trade deadline, Arizona Cardinals All-Pro CB and former LSU All-American Patrick Peterson.

However — while those same fans are up in arms over the move, there are some facts that support the idea that the trade might not be quite nearly as bad one might think.

Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated

As first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Saints sent next year's 2019 fourth-round pick and a 2020 seventh-round pick to the G-Men, in return for Apple; who now will become the 6th former Ohio State University player on the Saints' roster.

Apple was the #10 overall pick of the Giants in the 2016 NFL Draft. But unfortunately for him, his 2 and a half year tenure in New York was filled with drama and controversy. In fact, near the very end of last season, Giants safety Landon Collins called him "a cancer" within the New York locker room.

But now with today's surprising trade, Apple is out of New York and headed for NOLA; and now that he will be able to have some familiar faces around him, the thought among some observers and analysts is that the "change of scenery" for Apple could potentially allow him to THRIVE in his new environment.

He joins safeties Vonn Bell and Kurt Coleman, receivers Ted Ginn Jr. and Michael Thomas, and cornerback Marshon Lattimore as former members of the Buckeyes football program, to play on the Saints roster.

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

But here are a few more reasons for Saints fans to consider, as to why this trade might not be as bad as some may believe.

For starters, as noted by USATODAY's John Sigler: Apple is ONLY 23 years old; and runs a 4.4 40-yard dash; and he's already recorded 5 PBU's (Pass Break-ups) this season in the 5 games that he's played — more than ANY other current Saints defender.

Additionally, as noted by Last Word on Saints writer Ian Riise: the 6-foot-1, 200 pound Apple is currently PFF's 36th ranked CB with a 68.5 grade. For comparison, current Saints #2 CB Ken Crawley — who has been the biggest target of criticism from fans over his play thus far this year — is ranked 105th with 47.9 grade.

Apple has recorded 120 tackles, one interception, 20 pass breakups, and 2 forced fumbles (5 recoveries) in 30 games.

Then of course, there's the fact that Crawley — who has been the biggest target of criticism from fans over his play thus far this year — is a restricted free agent next year; while fellow CB and slot cover-man P.J. Williams will be an unrestricted free agent next year.

By acquiring Apple, the Saints have now given themselves some insurance for beyond this year. Apple is currently in the 3rd year of his original rookie contract that he signed with the Giants; and he has a 5th year option on his contract. which could be exercised for the 2020 season.

By only giving up a 4th Round pick next year and a 7th Round pick in 2020, this is essentially a "good value" trade for New Orleans. Sure, he's NOT Patrick Peterson by any stretch, but the Saints certainly could have done much worse.

Photo courtesy of The New York Times

Apple was actually one of New York's most improved defensive players this season; and by all accounts he had a great off-season and Training Camp; and had played well so far this season in the secondary.

If nothing else: he most likely will provide an upgrade at the #2 CB / outside boundary position, over Crawley.

Coincidentally: for those Saints fans that are worried about the team using up nearly all of next year's 2019 Draft picks, one alternate viewpoint is that all of the players whom the Saints have traded for this year already, are all young players age 25 or younger (Davenport, Teddy Bridgewater, and Apple); and they still as of this moment, have their 2nd Round pick, a 5th, two 6ths (including one from the Jets), and a 7th rounder.

One thing that Saints fans need to keep in mind: Arizona's asking price may have been a bit TOO HIGH for Peterson's services.

The Cardinals previously have stated that they aren't willing to trade Peterson; though reports are that they'll consider an offer just so long as it includes a #1 Draft pick in next year's 2019 NFL Draft — which the Saints don't have since they used it this past Spring to move up in this past year's draft to select defensive end / edge pass rusher Marcus Davenport.

Nevertheless, until we actually see Apple in the Saints starting line-up, the proverbial "jury will remain out" on whether or not New Orleans has actually upgraded their CB position.

But given just how BAD the Saints secondary has looked at times this season in spite of their great (5-1) start to the season, the trade today for Apple might not be nearly as bad as you might think....



Big Easy Magazine contributing writer and Saints News Network columnist Barry Hirstius is a 51-year old semi-retired journalist, former New Orleans-area sports editor, and writer previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints football team. Additionally, he is a recurring guest on a variety of local Sports Talk Radio programs. Barry is also a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the team while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium in the early 1970’s, originally following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.....

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