The Detroit Lions are projected to take Jabrill Peppers with the number 6 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft
Alright, alright, just breathe and pause before freaking out. “The season hasn’t even started yet and you are already looking towards next year’s draft?”, “Same old Detroit Lions writers, giving up on the season before the season even starts.”, “Why are you looking at mock drafts? They will change rapidly before the season starts, let’s enjoy this year before looking at 2017.”
Those are many of the thoughts probably running through your head seeing this article in September before the Lions kick off against the Colts. Here is the response to those thoughts. Yes, looking forward to the draft is a smart thing to do right now, since college football is in session, people who scout college players don’t take breaks and this is the perfect time to scout them. We here at the Detroit Lions Podcast are not giving up on the season this year, and we all will be enjoying this season, but it doesn’t hurt to take a peek into 2017 before everyone else opens it up.
This series is to give you guys a look at who Matt Miller, NFL Draft Lead Writer from Bleacher Report, has us taking in his mock drafts as the season goes on. We will be breaking down who we “take” and if the player would be a good or bad fit for the team. In his first Mock Draft, Matt Miller has us picking sixth and taking linebacker Jabrill Peppers from the University of Michigan.
Does Jabrill Peppers Fill a Need?
Hands down yes. Jabrill Peppers can be many things in the NFL. At Michigan he can play quarterback, running back, wide receiver, linebacker, cornerback, safety, kick/punt returner. You can cross out any offensive position for him in the NFL and he won’t be a strict kick/punt returner. Where does he fit on defense? That is a tough call right now. His first year he only appeared in three games before sitting the rest of the year due to an injury and was redshirted. He played cornerback exclusively, but in 2015 he moved to safety.
In his first year at safety, Jabrill Peppers did well, getting 45 tackles, five and a half tackles for loss, and 10 pass deflections. This year though, Jabrill Peppers was moved again, this time to the linebacker position. So far, in just one game he has eight tackles, two for loss and a sack. So, let’s go ahead and say he stays at linebacker.
Detroit does need help at the linebacking position. Besides Tahir Whitehead and DeAndre Levy, Detroit doesn’t have another solid starting linebacker. Josh Bynes hasn’t been horrible during his time here at Detroit, but there are better options out there. Kyle Van Noy is having his first true rodeo as he will be starting in Josh Bynes place as he is on the IR, so the organization will have to see how he plays out. Behind him is Jon Bostic, who is currently on IR as well and could be out of Detroit after this season. Antwione Williams is a rookie and will most likely stay as a backup. Thurston Armbrister was picked up off the waiver wire from the Jacksonville Jaguars and might not last on the team for long.
Jabrill Peppers can come in and possibly start alongside Whitehead and Levy, worst case he can back one of them up or go out and play cornerback or safety.
Is Jabrill Peppers a Good or Bad fit?
Jabrill Peppers is a good fit for the Detroit Lions. The fact that we can put him at linebacker, safety or cornerback gives us many options and all at positions that could use some help. He could start alongside Levy and Whitehead at the linebacker position. At safety he could take over Tavon Wilson‘s spot or maybe backup Glover Quin. Also he could be the number three cornerback as Diggs can move to the nickel. Anywhere you put this guy is going to be a good fit. Peppers has impressive coverage skills, he can wrap up the ball carrier with his huge arms and he can help stop the run with his blitzing speed to knock them back for a loss or potentially a sack.
Jabrill Peppers is only a redshirt sophomore, meaning he doesn’t have to enter the draft this season. Back when he was a freshman, Peppers did say he wanted a degree from the university, so his decision to declare or not will be huge. If he has an impressive season and can win or compete for the Heisman trophy, he may look to go for the league rather than finishing school. How he performs this season will easily have an impact on whether or not he declares. Either way, be on the look out for Jabrill Peppers as he could soon go from the maize and blue to the blue and silver.