At the end of minicamp this past week, Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams pointed out how everyone on defense is going to learn two positions. That might not apply to some players as much as it does others, but the impression is that it will certainly apply to rookie safety Jabrill Peppers.
Scott Petrak of the Chronicle-Telegram noted that Williams talked about how he could play Peppers and fellow safety Calvin Pryor together despite their similar skill sets. Here is more from Williams elaborating on multiple safeties:
“We’ll get as many good players in packages as needed. If it means playing only one linebacker, I’ll play one linebacker. Wherever I’ve been, we’ve played with lots of DBs because the league has become a one-back throwing league. Wherever I’ve been people don’t really want to get lined up in two-back offenses and try to run it against us because we’ll load up and outnumber you that way. You got to get bigger if they’re bigger, you got to get littler if they’re littler, and you still gotta be fast. They’ll be playing similar things, but there’s nothing clear-cut yet.”
With all of the versatility that Peppers possesses and the packages Williams might want to deploy, it’s easy to see that Peppers won’t be pigeon-holed to one distinct role. Pro Football Focus looked at the snap breakdown for Peppers in 2016, where you can see that he hardly played any safety at all:
Peppers began minicamp playing mostly safety with the second- and third-team defenses, but the team will no doubt introduce a lot more wrinkles for him by the time training camp comes around.