Sunday marked the on-field activities for linebackers and defensive linemen, and it is a particularly busy day for Jabrill Peppers. The Michigan defensive back is doing both linebacker and defensive back drills as teams try and figure out what to make of him. He lined up with the linebackers because he was listed as such in college, even though he was working all over. He said the Combine was set to have him only work with linebackers, but he and his agents worked it out so he could do defensive back drills as well.
Peppers measured in at 5’11, 213 pounds. He is a defensive back who played in a variety of roles at Michigan. There is some thought he could play a hybrid DB/LB role in the NFL, and so Eric Galko offered up these physical comparisons. Peppers ran a 4.47 40, and put together a generally strong day on the non-position specific drills.
There is some video of him in positional drills, and by all accounts he had a solid day.
The next step for teams will be evaluating the film, and putting him through his paces at workouts in March and April. He is working with both linebacker and defensive back position groups, but he sees himself as a safety. In his Saturday media session, when asked what he wants to be categorized as, he said, “I’m a safety. I’m a safety. Yes, I’m a safety.”
He was asked about how he might fit, and he said he does not worry about what teams will want to do with him in terms of scheme.
“I control the controllables. I’m pretty much effective wherever I’m gonna be put. I don’t have a lot of tape at safety, but I’m a pretty damn good safety. I think a lot of teams notice that. They have the tape. They asked me for tapes of me playing corner, me playing some safety, but ultimately I hope a lot of questions are answered after this weekend.”
Chris Biderman had an interesting analysis of Peppers, talking about him as an ideal sub-package player. He suggested Peppers’ ideal role, “could be as a box safety in base situations and a linebacker in passing downs.” The 49ers have several safeties on the roster that could fit such a role, and the change in coaching staff means just about anything is possible. However, the kind of draft pick the 49ers might need to invest in Peppers could mean he is not high enough on their draft board to make that kind of investment.