You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myDaytonDailyNews.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myDaytonDailyNews.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myDaytonDailyNews.com.

breaking news

BREAKING: Pike County Sheriff issues alert about criminal gang, heroin

Michigan’s Peppers may get pushed to second round of NFL draft


Jabrill Peppers perhaps played out of position at Michigan last season, lining up as a linebacker even though he seemed most suited to play safety in the NFL. 

He made enough plays to become a Heisman Trophy finalist as a junior and to determine he was ready to play in the league. 

Timing might work against Peppers, though, because he's projected to be taken after LSU's Jamal Davis and Ohio State's Malik Hooker. Those two safeties are expected to be among the top selections next week, and no one appears to be sure when Peppers will be taken. 

"It's unfortunate that he's coming out in a year where there are so many good safeties," NFL draft consultant and former Dallas Cowboys general manager Gil Brandt said. "Under normal conditions, he'd probably be the No. 1 safety, but the Ohio State and the LSU guys are so good. 

"He's a tremendous football player. He finds a way to makes things happen. Even though he only had one interception at Michigan, he finds a way to make a big play, whether it's a sack off a blitz or on a punt return." 

Brandt believes Peppers is talented enough to potentially be drafted in the middle of the first round, but won't be surprised if he's available early in the second round. Even though Peppers was pushed out of his comfort zone last season, Brandt does not think it affected his value to NFL teams. 

"The only thing that hurts him a little bit is he doesn't have very good hands," Brandt said. "At pro day, he dropped about three passes." 

Bleacher Report NFL analyst Chris Simms said Peppers was the "most overrated ," prospect in the draft last week and the proud player fired back the next day on Twitter. 

"I played out of position (LB @ 200lbs) pounds, and still became an All American," Peppers tweeted . "How many players can/ARE WILLING to do that for their team?" 

The 5-foot-11, 213-pound Peppers declined an interview Saturday while walking up the tunnel out of Michigan Stadium after the school's spring game. But he acknowledged last month that it is fair to question where he will play in the league because there isn't a lot of tape of him at safety. Peppers was primarily used as a nickel cornerback as a sophomore in 2015. 

Coach Jim Harbaugh had him return punts and kickoffs and play on offense, putting him in as a wildcat quarterback, running back and wide receiver. 

"I've had one team tell me they want me to play linebacker," Peppers said in March at Michigan's pro day. "One team told me they thought I should play offense. Other than that it's, 'you're a safety.' ... No one's come into a room and said, 'Jabrill, we don't know what to do with you.' " 

Speed, it seems, will be an asset for Peppers. 

He ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, showing off the form that helped him in high school become a New Jersey state champion in track. In games, whether returning a punt for a touchdown or a fumble on a 2-point conversion, he simply looked like a blur at times. 

Peppers didn't play in Michigan's 33-32 loss to Florida State in the Orange Bowl because of an injured left hamstring, but has proven he's healthy during a string of visits with NFL teams. 

He led a team stacked with NFL-caliber players with 16 tackles for losses last season and ranked third with 72 tackles. He also had four sacks, one interception and forced a fumble. On offense, Peppers had 27 carries for 167 yards, caught two passes and scored three touchdowns. He returned a punt for a score in a win over Colorado, averaged a Big Ten-best 14.8 yards on punt returns, and gained 26 yards per kickoff return. 

He won the Hornung Award as the nation's most versatile college football player, and the Lott Trophy, which honors a defensive player for character and performance. 

"Whatever team takes me, it's going to be a steal," Peppers said. "I don't care what the draft experts — and things like that — what they have to say. I only care about what these GMs and coaches think about me. I just need the opportunity. That's it. 

"I didn't play safety, but I'm going to be a safety."


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Recruiting roundup: 2 more area players pick Big Ten schools
Recruiting roundup: 2 more area players pick Big Ten schools

Two more pairs of teammates have announced where they are going to play their college football since our last recruiting roundup.  Mason offensive lineman Eric Miller got it started June 17 when he announced he will play in the Big Ten at Purdue.  New Boilermakers coach Jeff Brohm has 14 commits already, including three players from Ohio...
Michael Martinez back with the Indians ... again
Michael Martinez back with the Indians ... again

He’s back again: The Cleveland Indians added utility man Michael Martinez to a minor league deal on Sunday. He was assigned to Triple-A Columbus.  Martinez is a major league journeyman, he most recently played for the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays designated Martinez for assignment a week ago, and it didn’t take the 34-year-old long to...
Reds minor league pitching prospects will face Tim Tebow
Reds minor league pitching prospects will face Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow is returning to Florida.  The New York Mets promoted the former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner at Florida to Advanced-A St. Lucie. The outfielder hit .222 with 69 strikeouts in 63 games for the Single-A Columbia (S.C.) Fireflies. Tebow moves on the Florida State League, where the Cincinnati Reds’ minor league club, the...
Cozart has shrinking but still sizable lead in All-Star voting
Cozart has shrinking but still sizable lead in All-Star voting

With fewer than four days remaining in voting for the All-Star Game, the Cincinnati Reds’ Zack Cozart leads National League shortstops with 1,915,806 votes. Cozart has been on the disabled list since June 19 with a strained right quad. His lead over Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager shrunk from 321,560 to 258,074 in the last week. Cozart is seeking...
How to watch former Flyers Scoochie Smith, Charles Cooke in NBA Summer League
How to watch former Flyers Scoochie Smith, Charles Cooke in NBA Summer League

Former Dayton Flyers point guard Scoochie Smith will play for the Boston Celtics in the NBA Summer League at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, starting July 3. Another former Flyer, guard Charles Cooke, will play for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. His first game is July 8. Smith...
More Stories