If you’re getting tired of reading mock drafts where the Cowboys select an edge rusher, you’re in luck with Mel Kiper’s latest mock. Instead of picking a defensive end for the Cowboys, in the third version of his mock draft this offseason he gives Dallas some help in the secondary.
28. Dallas Cowboys
Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Wouldn't this be a Jerry Jones type of pick? Peppers is one of the most well-known prospects in this class, but he's a tweener (5-11, 213) who's polarizing to NFL scouts. The team that drafts him will have to get creative and use him as a hybrid safety who can play the run and cover tight ends. Peppers could also be a great return man. He's a tremendous athlete (4.46 40, 35.5-inch vertical). And Dallas' secondary has been depleted in free agency -- Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox are all gone.
Jabrill Peppers is an interesting pick for the Cowboys. Of course Kiper blows it with the initial reasoning of “Wouldn't this be a Jerry Jones type of pick?” It’s sad that some media types are still stuck in the “Jerry Jones makes the Cowboys draft picks all by himself and he always picks the glitzy name” meme. Still, moving past that, Peppers could make some sense for the Cowboys if he is still available at pick #28.
The Cowboys lost Barry Church, and Peppers could be an interesting play as an “in the box” safety who plays underneath coverage. He could possibly allow the Cowboys to keep Byron Jones as the main single-high safety. As we noted yesterday in the Mayock rankings, he has Peppers as the top safety on his board.
Todd McShay sees him more as a second-round talent because of the same issue everyone has with Peppers, where will he play and how does he fit onto a scheme?
"I don't know that he'll be (right) for every team," McShay said. "It'll be interesting to see where he goes. He's going to have a good career, it's just a matter of getting with the right place and put in the right role and having time to develop. I don't know that he's a plug-and-play starter at a true safety position right now. He may be more of a sub-package guy early in the first year of his career and develops into an every-down player as he moves into year two and beyond."
Strong safety is probably the clearest projection, but that could limit a defense’s versatility because you won’t want him in deep coverage much.
He needs to be in the right scheme and utilized properly to maximize his ability, likely in a multiple/exotic blitz heavy scheme that will look to bring him from different angles and keep him from having to take on blockers too often. His athletic potential is undoubtedly enticing and he could be an absolutely dynamic NFL player, but I wouldn’t exactly be thrilled with another first-round defensive back when you consider that we aren’t even totally sure what position Byron Jones is going into Year 3. With that said, he should get better at whatever position he ends up at once he is able to focus on a defined role in the league.
Other mocks have him going in the middle to late first round.
What’s your take on Jabrill Peppers?