NFL Draft rumors: Jabrill Peppers is ‘ideal fit’ for Chiefs system
By Matt Conner
As the Chiefs look for help in a thin secondary, especially if Eric Berry leaves, early round NFL Draft prospect Jabrill Peppers is being called an “ideal fit” for Bob Sutton’s defense.
The Kansas City Chiefs rookie class will be largely affected by what the team does in the offseason months leading up to the draft. If somehow Eric Berry is allowed to suit up for another team, the Chiefs will likely find themselves searching for impact help in the secondary, which means a player like Jabrill Peppers might fit the bill.
It also turns out that Peppers himself is noted for being an “ideal fit” for the Chiefs defense. Bob Sutton’s versatile use of safeties means that a hybrid player like Peppers would be perfect for a team like Kansas City. According to Bucky Brooks of NFL.com, the Chiefs are one of a handful of teams to watch in the second round who could make a move for the Michigan product.
"With that in mind, I believe Peppers is destined to come off the board within the first 50 selections, and probably in the second round between picks 32 and 59. Teams like the New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans would be ideal fits based on their schemes and coaching staffs."
Peppers should draw interest for his ability to diagnose and stuff the run, and he’s a tremendous tackler in that sense. He’s physical with receivers and has the size and strength and athleticism to disrupt the play. He can play all over the field, which allows a creative defensive coordinator to have some fun with Peppers all over the field, and he also adds strong special teams experience, especially as a return man (with a Big Ten leading 14.8 yards/return).
He’s a generalist, not a specialist, which means that NFL teams will have to allow him to adjust maybe more than other prospects. In short, he needs reps to react instinctively.
All that said, Peppers lacks experience at any one position which means that NFL teams aren’t likely going to love his inability to read and react at a specific spot, compared to other players who have seen the game through a single lens. He’s a generalist, not a specialist, which means that NFL teams will have to allow him to adjust maybe more than other prospects. In short, he needs reps to react instinctively.
Given the success the Chiefs have had coaching up young players to make an impact in the secondary, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them pull the trigger on a player like Peppers. Josh Mauga is a free agent as well, which means a player who can also help at linebacker and shift around in various sub packages could be very valuable. The coaching tree is in place as well, where Peppers can enjoy tutelage from a special teams coach like Dave Toub and secondary coaches like Al Harris and Emmitt Thomas.
Peppers finished fifth in Heisman voting last season, with 66 total tackles, including 13 for loss, 3 sacks and 1 interception. He was the 2016 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.