Buccaneers’ 2017 NFL Draft Profile: Safety Jabrill Peppers
By Zach Sauers
Going into the 2016 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers knew that their safety tandem was one of the most suspect in the league. Could the solution to their defensive woes be solved in this years upcoming draft?
After a heartbreaking loss at home in the “Den of Depression” versus the Oakland Raiders, the Buccaneers look once again to solve their defensive issues. A constant theme throughout these games has been horrendous safety play. Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald have shown to fans that they may be the worst tandem in the NFL.
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Whether it’s blown coverage, misalignment, or bad tackling, week in and week out they have been targeted. Watch any game the Bucs have played in and it’s obvious that the opposing teams’ quarterbacks know where the weakness of the Bucs’ defense is.
So far, the Bucs have yet to make any sort of changes at both either position and it seems that the fourth round rookie Ryan Smith will need all the time he can have to be able to learn the position in the NFL.
Where do the Bucs look now?
The 2017 draft is loaded with superior athletes at the safety position, but none like the man out of Michigan… Jabrill Peppers. His size, speed, and pure athleticism set him apart from pack. But, Peppers is not your typical college prospect. Whether hes lining up at safety, halfback, quarterback or linebacker, he can do it all. Just this past Sunday in a game against Michigan State, Peppers lined up at 10 different positions. Yes you read that correctly.
As of now, NFL experts project Peppers as a safety coming into the league, and that has to have the Bucs’ staff drooling.
Defense & Fumbles
These defensive stats just do not give the kid the credit he deserves. His presence alone changes the game and forces teams to game plan around him. Oh and not to mention… he’s also a great return man.
Pepper’s play-making ability is unquestionable. His impact on the game is undeniable and he is undoubtedly one of the top prospects in this year’s draft. If Peppers decides to declare for the draft, he is going to be worthy of a top 10 selection. So what does this mean for the Bucs?
Currently the Bucs are sitting at a selection towards the early teens of the draft. If Peppers is able to slip out of the top five, the Bucs will definitely take this special talent into consideration. Not only would Peppers be able to solve the defensive woes in the secondary, he also would provide another cornerstone in what seems to be a changing in culture.
Comparisons to Tyrann Mathieu, Jim Thorpe, Sean Taylor, and Charles Woodson have put Peppers into the category of greats. Imagine that on the back-end of the Bucs’ defense. Improving the Bucs on the defensive side of the ball will be no easy task, but overcoming adversity is just something Peppers can do.
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A proven winner and force to be reckoned with, Peppers is the future of one lucky team’s defense. This Heisman hopeful is on the radar of every team in the NFL. Are the Bucs going to be the organization who pulls the triggers? What do you think Buc Fans? Would you like to see Peppers in the pewter and red?
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