The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking defense in the 2017 NFL Draft, and Jabrill Peppers may be an option.
The Steelers are looking to fill voids at the pass-rusher position with an outside linebacker and in the secondary with a safety. As crazy as it sounds, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers could fill both.
Peppers, the 6’1, 205-pound safety has no idea what position he’ll play in the NFL. Some teams believe he could be a reliable safety, using his athleticism to be a hard-hitting playmaker in the secondary. Others think he’ll be used more as a coverage linebacker much like the Dallas Cowboys did with Roy Williams during much of the 2000s.
For Pittsburgh, Peppers would be the perfect happy-medium to their problems. He could work as a nickelback and outside linebacker to start his career and work his way into the safety position.
Mike Mitchell isn’t ready to call it quits yet, and the Steelers like having the hard-hitting safety. Peppers would be a great backup playmaker while getting snaps at just about every position on defense. Whether his focus is pass rushing on the outside or dropping back, Peppers would be a huge addition to the defense.
When it comes to whether Pittsburgh would actually draft a secondary player in the first round, they would. NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala made it clear that the Steelers are going to take advantage of this loaded draft class.
“The Steelers will take the best available, be it a safety or a cornerback when it is their turn; at least that is what I was told today,” Kinkhabwala reported on Pittsburgh’s No. 30 pick. “They need to be able to play man coverage. It’s not something we’ve seen.”
If the Steelers are looking best available, Peppers will be the guy at the end of the opening round. Unless he’s taken early, he likely will fall to Pittsburgh. When he’s there, talent will come into consideration, and very few players are as skilled as Peppers.
Peppers is a great addition to Pittsburgh. The Steelers love hard-hitting players who aren’t afraid to jump the line, take on a running back and do whatever necessary to come up with the ball. Remember the last time they had a safety with the traits Peppers holds? Troy Polamalu.
He’d be exactly what the Steelers are looking for. There are plenty of pass rusher in this draft, and yes, they do need to select one. But if Peppers is still around at the end of the first, I don’t see how you pass him up. He’s everything you want in a player and more.
Just to compliment his defensive ability, Peppers is known as a phenomenal returner. With the addition of Kniles Davis, Pittsburgh has already boosted their return game. Antonio Brown will probably still take punts, though, but with Peppers, you can keep your star wideout off the field.
There are too many benefits of drafting Peppers for Pittsburgh to miss out. They don’t need to make a move for him. All they’ll need to do is sit back and feel good about taking the best player available.
In the long-run, Peppers is going to be a Pro Bowler. For Pittsburgh, he’s the best decision they’ll make in the NFL Draft.