Michigan Football: Harbaugh, Peppers Confident About Draft Day

Chris Balas, Senior Editor

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Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has no doubt Jabrill Peppers will be a very good pro, and he let dozens of NFL scouts, administrators and others know it at U-M’s recent Pro Day.

The feedback he received about his player was overwhelming, Harbaugh told former Michigan kicker Jay Feely on the Rich Eisen Show recently. People once worried about what position he might play at the next level aren’t concerned anymore.

“It’s not even a question anymore with the people I’ve talked to about him,” Harbaugh said. “What they’ve said to me, they really get it. They’re continuing do their homework on what kind of guy, player, practice player he is, and I’ll tell you the same thing I tell them … having been around, I’ve never seen someone with as much energy to a practice or a game as Jabrill Peppers.”

He’s tops in tempo, caring and making his teammates better, he added.

“Not only himself, but lifting as many other people as you can think of around him on a daily basis, weekly, monthly, yearly," he said. "I’ve never seen anything like the guy in terms of how he likes to practice, the way he wants to win at practice, likes to compete … the complete satisfaction he derives from practice.

“They really liked to hear that. What they’re telling me is he’s going to go really high.”

NFL Network's Mike Mayock recently listed Peppers as the top safety in this year's draft class, ahead of LSU's Jamal Adams and Ohio State's Malik Hooker. Though he worked out at both linebacker and safety at the Combine, Peppers believes he is a safety first.

Yahoo.com agrees with him.

“He appears best suited as a deep safety who can roll down over the slot, and he perhaps could be a zone corner for certain teams,” they wrote. “Patient teams, plus those that value talent over carved-out prototypes, will appreciate Peppers’ unique blend of skills. Also those that lean heavily on the coaching staff to project scheme fits will have a better idea how to utilize him right away.”

“At the end of the day, I’m an athlete and a ball player,” Peppers said after U-M’s Pro Day. “… I feel as though I have all the intangibles. Everything I don’t have I can be coached up on.

“I feel as though people are downplaying me as a football player … that I don’t have a true position, in a sense. I’m just a guy who did whatever I could to help the team win. Whatever coach asked me to do, I’d do it. If I’m punished, so be it. I’d do it all over again because I’m a winner. I know what kind of player I am and am going to be because I’m going to put in the work, blessed by the Lord with all the athleticism and traits he gave me.”

He doesn’t pay attention to the negative or the positive, he insisted. And though different scouts have Peppers going different places, Harbaugh believes most coaches are aware how good his player is.

“The pro coaches I talked to and the scouts that call and talk about Jabrill, they see it now,” he said. “They watched all the tape, came through it this year, last year. They see how they’re going to use him.

“He’s going to be a safety who plays in the deep middle of the field, a safety who plays in the two deep. They also see how he can be a linebacker, how he can be a nickel corner, an in the box linebacker, a blitzer, tackler … can be used in the return game, kickoff and punt.”

Where remains to be seen, but one team, Harbaugh insisted, will be lucky to have him.


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