During his two seasons at Ohio State, Eli Apple squared off against his fair share of quality wide receivers, but one player sticks out in his mind as the best he went against.
"Amari Cooper was probably the toughest receiver I ever went against, as far as quickness, and his speed, and how he set up people on his routes," Apple said Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
The pair's only battle came via the College Football Playoff in the 2015 Sugar Bowl, but it's assuredly a game neither will forget as the Buckeyes upset the Crimson Tide 42-35 to earn a trip to the National Championship Game – a game they would later win handedly over the Oregon Ducks.
While Apple and the Buckeyes got the last laugh, the Biletnikoff Award winner, and current Raider, did turn in a quality performance, hauling in nine passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns, albeit in a losing effort.
"I just remember he was quiet," Apple said of Cooper. "He had a quiet confidence about him. You could just tell by his aura on the field that he was just a top guy. It was a great battle."
And those battles will continue in the NFL, whether it's on Sunday as opponents or throughout the week as teammates.
Take a look at some of the top prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft in action.
Head Coach Jack Del Rio said earlier in the week that the Raiders would be addressing the depth of their secondary via the draft and free agency, and Apple is one of the top-rated corners in this year's class.
ESPN Draft Expert Mel Kuiper, Jr., even has the Ohio State-product projected to the Silver and Black in his most recent mock draft.
"Apple is a big corner, he's a great athlete, he did real well against some top receivers," wrote Kuiper. "He's only a third-year sophomore. I think that's the kind of pick Oakland has traditionally made over the years. I don't think Apple would be an out of the question pick, because I think after all is said and done, we get to late April, April 28, he's going to be way up there on a lot of boards."
When asked about thoughts about a possible move to the Bay Area, Apple answered succinctly.
"Any team would be a blessing," he said. "If I go to the Oakland Raiders, God blessed me to go there. I would be happy. Any team would be a blessing."