As the NFL draft nears, USA TODAY High School Sports will look back at the high school careers and draft prospects for former American Family Insurance ALL-USA selections. Today’s installment features Michigan strong safety Jabrill Peppers. It should be noted that Peppers’ draft status could be affected by news Monday that indicated that a diluted urine sample at the NFL scouting combine.
Position: Strong Safety
High school: Paramus Catholic (Paramus, N.J.)
ALL-USA history: Named ALL-USA Defensive Player of the Year and first team in 2013.
Height, weight: 6-1, 213
By the numbers: Had 66 tackles, including 13 for loss, and three sacks last season after posting 45 tackles, including 5.5 for loss, in 2015. He became the first player in the Big Ten to win three individual awards in the same season since the awards program expanded in 2011: the Nagurski-Woodson defensive player of the year, the Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year and the Butkus-Fitzgerald linebacker of the year award.
Draft projection: Round 1/2
Draft positives: Pros: A natural feel for where the action is going to be and an explosive reaction to where they action is. Appears out of nowhere often. Instincts and awareness are off the chart. Strong finisher. Closes a gap aggressively under control. Equally full of range against the run and pass. Can fill multiple roles in coverage. Excellent ball skills. High points it and can also reach without interfering in traffic.
Draft negatives: Could play the game more physical and show better tackling mechanics. Lacks experience that most safeties have coming out of college. Will lose track of what is going on behind him.
What he says: “A lot of people are downplaying me as a football player because — what have I heard? —I don’t have a true position. But in a sense, I was just a guy doing whatever I can to help the team win, whatever my coach asked of me. And if I’m getting punished for that, then so be it. I would do it all over again if I had to because I’m a winner.”
Draft analysis by Dan Shonka, Ourlads.com