The pros and cons of starting CB Eli Apple in 2020

(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) Eli Apple
(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) Eli Apple /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) Eli Apple /

PRO: Untapped potential

For all of Eli Apple’s flaws, there is still an incredible amount to like about the sort of skills he brings to the table. The Carolina Panthers appear confident they can finally get the cornerback to reach his ceiling. But it is hard to deny the former first-round pick has had trouble putting it all together in a competitive environment.

Apple has enough speed to go down the field with even the quickest of wide receivers. His footwork is of the highest quality and his instincts are also something that could be of use going forward.

One area of his game that lacks any sort of common sense at times is Apple’s decision-making. This has become an increasing frustration over the last two years, with the player producing a standout play one minute only for him to give up significant yardage thanks to a silly mistake soon after.

It is a big if, but if Apple can finally get back on track and put his traits to better use more consistently, then the Panthers are going to have a superb player on their hands. Getting him back on the right path is going to be a complex problem that the likes of Matt Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow need to solve. And his career could ultimately depend on it.