One of the most polarizing prospects entering the upcoming draft is Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers. The playmaking safety starred on defence and special teams during his collegiate career, but scouts aren’t quite sure if he will take his form into the professional game.
Name: Jabrill Peppers
Date of birth: October 4th 1995
High School: Don Bosco Prepatory High School/Paramus Catholic
Height: 6 ft 1 in
Peppers was born in East Orange, New Jersey and began his football career at cornerback, before moving onto running back for Don Bosco Prepatory High School. Peppers won two consecutive state championships with the number one ranked Don Bosco in 2010 and 2011.
After leaving Don Bosco to attend Paramus Catholic, Peppers led the team to his third state championship in as many years, as well as being named Player of the Year by MSG Varsity. In his final season of high school football Peppers again led the team to another state championship victory, making it four out of four for him.
Many recruiting services and college scouts identified Peppers as a five-star recruit in the 2014 class. After being ranked as second to only running back Leonard Fournette in the 2014 class by ESPN, Peppers committed to the Michigan Wolverines.
An injury in his first career start for Michigan against Appalachian State meant Peppers was red-shirted for the 2014 season. After the 2015 season, which saw Peppers play offence, defence and special teams, he won numerous prestigious awards including Big Ten Freshman of the Year, All-Big Ten defensive first-team by players and coaches, and the All Big-Ten special teams second-team. Over 12 games, Peppers registered 45 tackles (5.5 for loss), 10 pass breakups, averaged 11.4 yards from 17 punt returns, 27.9 yards from 8 kick returns, had 8 catches for 79 yards and rushed for 72 yards from 18 carries with 2 touchdowns. (And breathe).
Peppers followed on from his terrific first full season in 2016, being named the Defensive Player of the Year, Linebacker of the Year, Return Specialist of the Year and a Unanimous All-American. He was again named to the All-Big Ten Defensive first-team, as well as being named to the All-Big Ten Special Teams first-team by coaches and media. Peppers finished the season with 72 tackles (16 for loss), 4 sacks, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble. On special teams, he finished with 310 yards from 21 punt returns (14.8 avg) and 1 touchdown, and 260 yards from 10 kick returns (26 avg). He added 167 yards from 27 rushes with 3 touchdowns and caught another two passes.
Following what would turn out to be his final season in college, Peppers received the prestigious Paul Hornung Award, given to the most versatile players. Peppers announced in 2017 his intention to enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
- Slender frame allows him to be extremely fast
- Versatile, played numerous positions during college
- Surprisingly effective pass rusher
- Plays best at the line of scrimmage
- Uncertainty as to whether or not his skills will translate to NFL
- Major concerns over coverage ability
- Takes plays off
IDEAL NFL FITS:
- Chicago Bears
- Buffalo Bills
- Arizona Cardinals
- Pittsburgh Steelers
Peppers seems to have modeled his game on Michigan legend Charles Woodson, but the former is much more likely to begin his career as a box safety, whereas Woodson was a long-time corner. I would go with Tyrann Mathieu thanks to Peppers ability to have an impact at the line of scrimmage, too.
PROJECTION: Mid-to-late 1st round