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Posts tagged with "Jabrill Peppers"

The Cleveland Browns were widely regarded as the biggest winners of the 2017 NFL Draft. On Sunday, they made sure all of those picks will officially be on the roster when camp opens next week.

The team announced they signed safety Jabrill Peppers to his rookie contract. Peppers was the last of the Browns‘ draft picks, which included other first-rounders DE Myles Garrett and TE David Njoku, to ink a deal.

The No. 25 overall pick was drafted by Cleveland for his ability to play safety, but coach Hue Jackson said in the spring that the former Michigan standout will see some time on offense as well.

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Hey, Adam: When first-round picks remain unsigned, it usually deals with offset language in the contract. Peppers’ representatives are likely trying to avoid offset language, which would mean that if he signs with another team before his four-year deal is up here, he’d still make his fully guaranteed money from the Browns plus whatever the new team pays him. Offset language enables the original team to pay only the difference.

The Browns do not want to include offset language. No. 1 pick Myles Garrett did not receive it on his $30.4 million contract. That tight end David Njoku signed recently means he probably also did not secure an offset clause. The numbers for Peppers, the No. 25 pick, are pretty well set at about $10.3 million with about a $5.6 million signing bonus. The Browns are of course hoping they can reach a deal before the start of training camp July 27th.

Hey, Tha Post Office: As of right now, I’d say the defensive line with the addition of Garrett. The Browns believe that he can be a generational player who transforms the team. In addition, the Browns also have Desmond Bryant back from his torn pectoral muscle. But if rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer can step in and win some games, QB could move up into “most improved” status.

Hey, Red: Some areas such as the defensive line are improved, and some I’m not so sure about yet. The quarterback play will be better this year and the defensive front is much improved. But the receiving corps looks like it could use some help, especially if Corey Coleman is nagged by a hamstring issue. With a better running game and upgraded defense, the Browns should be able to win some games this year, but I doubt they’ll reach .500.

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After sitting out the first day of rookie minicamp, former Michigan football star Jabrill Peppers will be on the field today for the Cleveland Browns.

Cleveland.com reported that he signed a participation agreement, though not his full contract, to be able to get on the field for the second day of camp.

Peppers sat out the first day reportedly on advice of his agents, who didn’t want him to sign the agreement.

Many rookies sign the agreements as temporary coverage so they can be part of the minicamp and then sign their official contracts later.

Though Peppers didn’t play on Friday, he was still the center of attention.

Earlier last week, an ESPN Cleveland radio report had accused him of taking drugs and, on Friday in his first meeting with the media since, he denied it.

“Absolutely not, never in my life,” Peppers said in a video posted by Cleveland.com’s Brown beat writer Mary Kay Cabot. “So I’m not even going to get into that. Whatever drugs she said, I’ve never done in my life.”

Sabrina Parr made the accusations on a Cleveland radio station and was fired just hours later that day. Her accusations were about specific drugs, saying that’s why he had a diluted sample at the NFL combine, to cover up the drug use.

“I’m talking about Peppers, and why he’s not going to make it, because he’s on the lean. And the molly,” she said referring to lean, which is a narcotic drink, and the molly, which is the drug ecstasy. “Listen, the guy’s not going to make it. He’s not going to make it through the season. I told Hammer (co-host Aaron Goldhammer) last week he’s another Josh Gordon.”

It was the first topic broached with Peppers at his Friday interview session.

“People are going to say whatever they want to say,” he said in quotes posted on clevelandbrowns.com. “This is my first time in Cleveland since they flew me out here. I do not know what she is talking about. I think people just say what they want to say to make stories. I do not really buy into that. I came here to play football and to get this great organization get back to promise so that is what I am going to do.”

Later Saturday, Peppers told Cleveland reporters that not singing the participation agreement had nothing to do with avoiding drug testing.

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Bob Quinn should sprint to the podium if Peppers is available at No. 21

I’ll take “Most polarizing NFL prospects” for 500, Alex. What’s that? Over-trodden cliches is not an actual category? “Take that for data” – Jabrill Peppers probably.

Hey, cliches are cliches for a reason and polarizing is basically just a synonym for most misunderstood. Flipping on film and trying to dissect why so many critics miss the dominant wrecking ball flying all over the field is puzzling at first. Even diehard Michigan fans are divided – often misled by the already misled media. Then you add context. It’s hard to take in a player’s talent if you don’t understand what you’re watching and it’s easy to get lost in the film if you’re unfamiliar with Michigan football and Jabrill Peppers’ ever-evolving roles.

Enter Brett Kollmann, savior of the benighted whom seek education. Kollman is a former NFL Network Assistant, SB Nation writer for the Houston Texans Battle Red Blog, regular on SportsRadio 610 Houston, and by far the best YouTube NFL analyst around.

But why should you care? Because Kollmann eloquently explains why everything you think you think about Jabrill Peppers is incredibly wrong and he has the film the prove it. Talking at length about a player’s impact outside of the box score is often lip service to justify something without empirical evidence – until it isn’t.

Meet the REAL Jabrill Peppers

I could write ten of these and still not expound Peppers’ impact as well as Kollmann. Those of you who don’t buy into Peppers’ ability and refuse to watch today’s free lecture need not read further. This article is not for the stubborn and lazy.

It’s for enlightenment.

And if Jabrill Peppers is sitting there at 21 when the Detroit Lions are on the clock (*spoiler alert* he won’t be) Bob Quinn might look like Peppers sprinting to the podium.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a player in this draft with more instant impact potential – especially one that fits so well into Detroit’s needs.

A defense that was 30th in yards per drive allowed in 2016 is in desperate need of talent. Peppers brings not only that talent and playmaking ability to an oft-overmatched defense but the versatility that is invaluable in today’s NFL.

Peppers would project as a day one starter as an in the box safety that would never have to come off the field regardless of personnel. He can slide to the weak side of a porous linebacking unit or shift as a nickel to mask a deficient cornerback room. He’ll shut down an opposing backfield and eat up bubble screens at an incredible rate.

Peppers is the ultimate chess piece for Teryl Austin’s defense. He’ll be one of the top blitzing safeties in the league the day he’s drafted and some of the hardest decisions will be how often to send him.

The best part? Peppers can and will be whatever Teryl Austin wants him to be. As he showed at Michigan, he’s selfless and will sell out for whatever role helps the team WIN.

Master of All?

Many have knocked Peppers as a player without a defined role. Someone who can do a lot of things well but nothing great. Those people haven’t watched much football.

I could write a book on Peppers’ defensive ability but you wouldn’t read it and Kollmann covered enough already. He’d be a first rounder on that side of the ball alone… but wait, there’s more!

Peppers brings an ELITE game-breaking return ability with him to the NFL. Vision, speed, agility, elusiveness, he possesses every trait to turn the Lions inept return game into one of the league’s best. (Andre Roberts? Bye, Felicia!) Those hands that many perceive as subpar sure had a knack for plucking line drive punts from the air and giving opposing coaches heart problems.

That same return ability can be harnessed as an offensive weapon as well whether out of the backfield, wildcat, or as a receiver. The Lions aren’t likely to use him on this side of the ball often but the option alone – especially in a pinch – is comforting.

Would Bob Quinn Take Him?

Queue fastest 40-yard dash by an NFL GM in league history as Quinn personally delivers the card to Roger Goodell.

We KNOW Quinn has an eye on team needs and a leaky defense.
We KNOW Quinn has an affinity for athletic freaks of the speedy variety.
We KNOW Quinn likes versatile players that can fill multiple roles.

Basically, Bob Quinn might have a poster of Jabrill Peppers in his room.

Will he be there at 21?

And that is really the only question that matters isn’t it?

Unfortunately, it will probably take more than a dilute sample at the combine from possible over-hydration for Peppers to fall to 21. It’s not the longest of shots but I doubt he makes it far past the Baltimore Ravens at 16. Oblivious media pundits might not know where he fits in the NFL but every single team in the league knows exactly how they’d use him and there’s not one that wouldn’t like to add him to their roster.

For the Lions sake, let’s hope that’s not in the top 20.

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Draft is perfectly suited for salary cap era

Jim from McLean, VA

Vic, who is the baseball equivalent of Vince Lombardi?

Connie Mack.

Jimmy from Naugatuck, CT

Vic, I’ve heard many Art Rooney stories, but none about Dan. What have you got?

Art was a sportswriter at heart. He loved the horses, hanging out in press boxes and swapping stories with the writers (he called them “my boys”). Dan was an accountant. Art gave the Steelers personality. Dan created order. Be that as it may, Dan possessed his father’s ability to relate to the common man. I remember the moments immediately following a gut-wrenching overtime loss for the Steelers to the Jaguars. A crush of reporters jammed the press box elevator at Heinz Field. Dan was standing next to me in the crowd. I thought to myself a lot of owners would have the elevator held for them, so they could ride down alone. Not Dan. He stood and waited with the rest of us. Despite his disappointment in the defeat, he calmly and graciously helped maintain order in the elevator panic. Nobody pushed, nobody shoved; we waited patiently and Dan set the tone. That’s what a leader does. Dan walked with kings but never lost the common touch. I’ve got lots of stories. I remember exactly where I was in the summer of 1975, when the Steelers PR guy came up to me and said Dan was being promoted to team president. No fanfare. I came to learn Dan didn’t even want the promotion to appear in the team’s media guide. Nearly 20 years later, I was sitting in the lunch room with Dan when he asked me what I thought about the league’s new salary cap concept. I said I was a sportswriter, not an accountant. He told me I needed to know the rules of the salary cap or I wouldn’t be able to cover the NFL. He was right. Dan was the most consistent voice of reason I have ever covered. He was also a friend of the Packers who offered a strong voice in support of the Packers’ stock sale.

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It’s funny how “workout warrior” has become almost synonymous with “draft bust.”

Of course, that isn’t entirely accurate. For every team that selects a Vernon Gholston, another finds their Ryan Shazier. Striking the balance between scouting tape and scouting physical attributes, however, has proven to be exceedingly difficult, which makes former Michigan standout Jabrill Peppers’ evaluation process very interesting.

Peppers checks all the workout warrior boxes, as he was among the Combine’s top performers in at 40-yard dash, the broad jump, and the vertical leap. For good measure, he put up 19 reps on the bench press, which is a praiseworthy total for a 5-foot-11, 213-pound defensive back.

On paper, Peppers is probably the best football player in the draft. The dude played five different positions at Michigan (primarily as an in-box safety/linebacker, but also slot cornerback, kick returner, running back, and traditional deep safety) and was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-American selection in 2016.

Amazingly, this versatility seems to have negatively impacted his draft stock. As good as Peppers looks on tape, he has virtually no production to support his case. In 27 career games, Peppers has just one interception and three sacks. This is likely due in large part to the fact that Jim Harbaugh and Michigan’s coaching staff moved Peppers all over the defensive backfield. So, although Peppers played safety, cornerback, and linebacker, it remains to be seen if he truly learned how to play these positions.

Joining an NFL roster as a true hybrid wouldn’t be a landmark achievement for Peppers—Arizona, for example, rosters two such players in Deone Bucannon and Tyrann Mathieu. However, many of the guys who could theoretically serve as Swiss Army Knife players ultimately focus on a single position, like Seattle’s Kam Chancellor.

Herein lies a major issue for Peppers. His build probably isn’t suitable for playing 4-3 outside linebacker on a full-time basis, and he doesn’t have the production or experience of some of the draft’s other top safeties. He isn’t quite six-feet tall and his arms are relatively short, which means that packing on additional functional mass—even with the help of an NFL training program—without impeding his explosive abilities will be a major challenge. This likely makes his skillset most translatable to strong safety, which is a position that he will have to be taught.

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There are reasons the Steelers shouldn’t draft Jabrill Peppers.

He’s not a pass rusher, per se, and the Steelers badly need one of those. Or two. Or three. They’re getting their 2016 sack leader back, yes, but James Harrison had a grand total of five and is about to turn 39.

Peppers also doesn’t have a firm position in the NFL. His most obvious fit is as a safety who plays near the line of scrimmage, and Sean Davis filled that role more and more as the 2016 season progressed.

So yes, there’s rationale for GM Kevin Colbert theoretically to pass on taking Peppers if he’s around for the 30th overall pick. It’s just … sort of lame, right? Peppers, more than any pick the Steelers could make in that position and possibly more than any player overall, is fun. That’s the point of all this — or it should be, anyway.

Now, there are spots where that’s obvious. Look at the photo at the top of this story. Look at this video of Peppers doing a post-40 backflip at the combine.

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