Versatile Michigan safety and return specialist Jabrill Peppers has told Pete Thamel of SI.com that he’ll declare himself eligible for the 2017 NFL Draft. Additionally Peppers thanked Michigan football and head coach Jim Harbaugh for the ‘memories and preparation’ in a tweet.
— JP5 (@JabrillPeppers) January 10, 2017
Thamel writes that Peppers is projected to be a first round pick as that return specialist and safety however in recent mocks it would seem the Michigan defensive back has dropped out of the first round. ESPN’s Todd McShay has him listed as a top ten prospect in the draft which seems to be more hype at the next level rather than reasonable observation on the type of player Peppers actually is.
“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Peppers said. “I’m choosing between cementing my legacy as a college player and starting my pro legacy. It’s something you dream of when you were a kid. I was torn between the two.” (via SI.com)
It doesn’t seem out of the question that Peppers could be a versatile player in the NFL much like he was in college. But the debate needs to stop when it comes to playing Peppers at linebacker. Standing at 6-foot-1 (on a good day) and 205-pounds Peppers would simply get destroyed playing linebacker in the NFL. Not to mention the Michigan defense at time was exposed this past season when Peppers played linebacker as teams with the ability to do so ran at him instead of making their way to the outside. In fact teams at the NFL level will more than likely hesitate to put Peppers in man-to-man situations because of his size and instead opt for nickel packages or as a zone defender.
Not to say Peppers won’t work out in the NFL. He should work out just fine. He’ll just be a system specific guy instead of someone who you can plug into any situation or any defense.