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

Records reveal hospital debate over sexual misconduct allegations

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

Olajuwon recalls Robinson bringing out his best in 1995 series

After Game 6 of the 1995 Western Conference finals, San Antonio Spurs center David Robinson sat at the podium inside The Summit, the legendary Houston arena, and attempted to process what had just happened. Robinson and the Spurs had dominated the NBA that season, winning 62 games, most in the league, and Robinson had deservedly taken home the Most...
Distracting or dirty, NHL agitators can provide spark in playoffs
Distracting or dirty, NHL agitators can provide spark in playoffs

Late in the second period of a scoreless Game 3 of his first-round playoff series at Madison Square Garden, Montreal Canadiens forward Steve Ott went to work. With New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello hovering around Montreal goaltender Carey Price, Ott stepped in front of Zuccarello and without warning began tousling his long locks. Zuccarello...
NFL draft capsules for NFC teams 
NFL draft capsules for NFC teams 

LAST SEASON: 49ers tied franchise record for losses, leading to organizational overhaul. Longtime GM Trent Baalke was fired, along with first-year coach Chip Kelly, and replaced by first-time GM John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. Team struggled just about everywhere in 2016. Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick failed to provide strong quarterback play...
Inside the throwing program that helped revive pitcher’s career
Inside the throwing program that helped revive pitcher’s career

Dan Straily wore street clothes and a big smile when he walked into a nondescript warehouse-turned-workout facility in an industrial park outside Seattle last week. He visited for pleasure, not business, to say hello to some of the minds who have helped make him the pitcher he is today and to show Miami Marlins coaches Juan Nieves and Ed Lucas a significant...
NFL draft capsules for AFC teams 
NFL draft capsules for AFC teams 

LAST SEASON: Following 0-14 start under first-year coach Hue Jackson, Browns barely avoided becoming only second team to lose all 16 games. Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam vowed to be patient with new front office and coaching staff and were mostly true to word as team underwent minimal offseason changes. Cleveland's biggest issue remains as it has been...
More Stories