IDP Draft Profile: DB/LB/Athlete Jabrill Peppers, Michigan

The title of this article may just be the best way to sum up, Jabrill Peppers game, an electrifying athlete. If you have the chance to watch his high school highlights, he dominated using that awe-inspiring athleticism and went on to be rated #2 overall in the “ESPN top 300” rankings only behind none other than Leonard Fournette himself. At Michigan, Coach Harbaugh used Peppers in nearly every way possible. Punt returner, kick returner, running back, wildcat quarterback, receiver, linebacker, cornerback, and safety.

I think it is safe to say he brings versatility to the table. And at 5’11, 213 Lbs, the redshirt sophomore has a frame that can play multiple positions. With all this said, the hype has cooled severely for Peppers. It’s cooled so much that some mocks have him dropping out of the first round (most preseason mocks had him as a top 15 pick). Let’s take a good look at Peppers as a player. We first need to discern which position best suits him, and where you should value him as an IDP prospect.

Strengths:

Athleticism: Probably not much of a surprise to see this listed as the first strength for Peppers. He’s just such a fluid athlete; you honestly feel like when watching him that he could play almost anywhere. Now, what needs to happen is he needs to learn how to best use this gift. That should come with experience, and if he can, he may be just as good as anyone in this class. 

Technique: Peppers has the body control, tackling ability, and hips to truly become a versatile superstar. All three of these skills are universally relevant to any defender, used heavily in the run game, man coverage game, and zone coverage game. With Peppers shining here, and with his elite athleticism, it’s only a matter of time before he starts dominating at the next level.

Man Coverage: His hips, and athleticism are shown off here in full. This only adds to his versatility as he should be able to cover running backs, tight ends, and even be a corner from time to time if need be. However, he could use some work in angling receivers, and while his hips are quick, he can overcommit from time to time which he needs to correct. But with more and more experience, he should be just as good as any safety in man coverage.

Weaknesses:

Ball Skills: Peppers, pretty famously forced just one turnover in his entire three-year career at Michigan. This chills potential IDP owners down to the bone. Obviously, turnovers are somewhat random, but one turnover over a three year period is concerning. Additional experience should help his instincts quicken up that extra little bit which can make all the difference.

Run Defense: Peppers is a good tackler, and if he has a lane to get to the ball carrier he can get there in a hurry.

But getting off of blocks, and overall dealing with blocks is something he needs to improve on in a hurry. In his defense, he played quite a bit of weakside linebacker at Michigan (weakside linebackers are almost always accounted for by offensive lines while safeties are sometimes left unblocked), and he should be primarily a safety in the NFL. As is the theme with Jabrill Peppers, more experience, and more reps should help him out immensely.

Summary:

Peppers is a gifted athlete, blooming with potential. He is already superb in some facets of his game but is subpar in others. Fortunately for Peppers, time and practice should be able to help him out as well as becoming more locked into his position. To answer the questions from the introduction, Peppers is a first round talent, but in a stacked safety class he may be flirting with the end of the first / beginning of the second round.

As for where Peppers fits best, it’s the strong safety position. His combination of athleticism and tackling ability should have him being a solid run defender as he ages, and perfect for the strong safety slot. As an IDP prospect, I would rank Peppers firmly behind both Jamal Adams and Budda Baker, right there with Obi Melifonwu, and in front of Malik Hooker and Lorenzo Jerome. Peppers is more of a project than some of the top safeties, but he’s a project that might be worth the investment.

Ohio State: http://draftbreakdown.com/video/jabrill-peppers-vs-ohio-state-2016/

Penn State: http://draftbreakdown.com/video/jabrill-peppers-vs-penn-state-2016/

Iowa: http://draftbreakdown.com/video/jabrill-peppers-vs-iowa-2016/

 

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bylitalo

Bradley Ylitalo, Minneapolis MN. Bethel Football Student Coach. Scouting/Devy writer for the Dynasty Football Factory. Follow me on twitter @NFL_drafthub or find me on facebook: Bradley Ylitalo

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