After selecting DE Myles Garrett with the first overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns were back on the clock at No. 12 but opted to trade down to No. 25 (details here). With the 25th pick, the Browns selected S Jabrill Peppers.
When the staff at Dawgs By Nature compiled our Browns big boards, Peppers was cumulatively listed as the No. 38 player on our big boards. Here is a scouting report from CBS Sports' Dane Brugler:
A two-year starter at Michigan, Peppers lined up as a SAM linebacker in the Wolverines 4-3 base scheme last season, moving from the secondary where he previously saw snaps at safety and cornerback (inside and outside). He flashes explosive traits and above average play speed, but his skill-set lacks sophistication. Peppers doesn’t have the play strength or take-on skills to make a living near the trenches and plays too reactive in man and zone coverages. However, he doesn’t lack for confidence and should improve once he can focus on one position and isn’t stretched thin during the week between defensive, offensive and special teams meeting rooms. Peppers is a difficult evaluation, but his remarkable athleticism and fearless attitude project well to the NFL level, projecting best as a hybrid strong safety and return man – top-40 prospect.
And here is what Pro Football Focus said about Peppers:
Peppers will require a bit of a leap of faith by the team that drafts him, as he appears to lack a natural position at the next level. While he graded No. 1 among all FBS safeties in pass-rushing productivity and towards the top in run defense, most of the plays he made while attacking forward were unblocked, and his size suggests that he won’t be able to play a similar role in the NFL. His coverage skills at this stage are lacking, in part due to limited reps, but also from what appears to be limited read-and-react skills, as he tended to let balls get completed comfortably in front of him before rallying to the receiver. 21 catchable balls were thrown into his coverage in 2016, and the only one that wasn’t completed was a receiver drop.
Here are some quotes from scouts’ assessment on Peppers, as collected by Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
- “I still don’t know if he’s offense or defense. I still got a couple days. I’d like him at the right price but I’m not going to spend a first-round pick on him.”
- “This kid is very passionate about football. Almost to the point where if you’re not at his level of passion he has no time for you. His skill set says free safety but he’s better closer to the line.”
- “I think he’s getting beat up a little bit. He’s not Polamalu but you’ve got to play him in a role where he can just roam and play the run.”
- “I don’t know what the problem is. He’s a dynamic utility safety for us. Guy’s a winner.”
How He Fits the Browns
Although I had Budda Baker ranked ahead of him, Peppers was a little higher on my draft board than some of the other staff members. I personally am intrigued by him being to play all over the defense, something that fits what Gregg Williams did with Mark Barron with the Rams. I still would’ve preferred getting S Malik Hooker earlier, though, even with the gained first round pick in 2018.
What do you think, Browns fans?
How do you grade the Browns’ selection of S Jabrill Peppers at No. 25 overall?
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