By: Steve Johnson
Jabrill Peppers, LB/S, Michigan
5’11” 213, 30 1/4″, 9 5/8″
4.46 40, 35 1/2″ vert, 128″ broad jump
2014: 3 games. 8 tackles
2015: 12 games. 45 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 10 PD
2016: 12 games. 66 tackles, 13 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 int for 11 yards, 1 PD
Misc. Stats: 45 att, 239 yards, 5 TDs; 10 rec, 82 yards; 39 PR, 510 yards, 1 TD; 18 KR, 483 yards during career. Also threw 1 incomplete pass in 2015.
Accolades: 2015 Big Ten Freshmen of the Year. First-Team All-Big Ten in 2015 and 2016. 2016 Big Ten Linebacker of the Year.
Injuries: Suffered a leg injury in 2014 and only played in 3 games. Had a hand injury in the Citrus Bowl last year. A hamstring injury kept him out of the Orange Bowl this year.
History: 4 time New Jersey state champion in High School. Was the 2013 USA Today High School Defensive Player of the Year. Track star, back to back state champion in 100 and 200 meter. His brother was killed several years ago, and his father has spent most of Pepper’s childhood in prison.
Strengths: Versatile, has lined up at safety, linebacker, corner and even at defensive end at times. Also has been used as a punt returner and running back. Athletic enough to cover anywhere on the field. Sideline to sideline range, and a closing burst. Explosive, ran a 4.46 and broad jumped 10’8″. Could be a legitimate red zone threat as a running back. Excellent blitzer who times the snap well. Very productive in the backfield, racking up almost 20 tackles for loss. Aggressive jamming at the line. Intense player and leader.
Weaknesses: Questionable instincts and anticipation. Had only 1 career interception (off a tipped ball). Doesn’t compare to the either of the top two safeties in terms of coverage. Sometimes chooses to hit rather than wrap. Average length. Not a deep safety. Caused 1 turnover in 27 career games.
Overview: A day one starter regardless of what defense your team runs. Coaches should stick him at a position and let him develop, but at the same time he’s such a defensive weapon that can be moved around. Such a playmaker with the ball in his hands, that he might be better off on the offensive side of the ball. Not a true safety in my eyes, he’s a linebacker.
Draft Projection: 1st round
Phanaddict Draft Grade: 6.2