Able to play 8 positions, Jabril Peppers may be the most intriguing prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft class.
School: Michigan Ht: 6-1 Wt: 205
Peppers is a rare athlete and the most versatile player in college football. His explosion, agility and quickness are off the charts. He has the raw ability to make an impact on several facets of the game. As a defender, his closing speed allows him to consistently fly to the football. He is adept in coverage, in space, blitzing or lined up near the line of scrimmage. Fights through blocks and is a reliable tackler.
Peppers can also be an offensive weapon, showing ability as a runner, receiver and wildcat quarterback. As a returner, he is decisive and quick, making defenders miss in traffic and the open field. He doesn’t hit a lot of homeruns with the ball in his hands but he consistently makes the first man miss, breaking away for many returns over 20 yards.
For all the position flexibility, the one thing that is missing is ball production. Peppers hasn’t forced many takeaways during his time at Michigan. He’s also dropped a few interceptions that were fairly easy plays for a player of his caliber. You have to wonder if the frequent changing of positions has not hindered his development slightly. He struggles a bit in off-coverage, as many young defenders do.
Peppers has completely lived up to his billing as a high school recruit, as a player with supreme versatility and natural ability. Peppers has lined up and excelled as a safety, cornerback, linebacker, wide receiver, quarterback, running back, kick returner, punt returner and gunner.The big questions will regard which primary role Peppers fills on the NFL level. The team that drafts him must, first, must be patient in allowing Peppers to develop. The team must also be creative in how Peppers is deployed in all facets of the game. Peppers has the tools to be a special, special player once he is allowed to focus on a position and figures out the nuances of the game.