Back to hitting the mock draft circuit during this dead zone of the offseason, the time after all the football has been played and prior to free agency. Focusing on mocks that have the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting players we haven’t highlighted before, today’s CBS’ mock draft by Dane Brugler has the team going in a new direction. He has them selecting Michigan hybrid player Jabrill Peppers 30th overall.
“Pittsburgh hasn’t been able to properly replace the hole left by Troy Polamalu at strong safety and although Peppers isn’t on that level, he has intriguing blend of athleticism and physicality.”
That analysis is pretty wonky considering the team just drafted strong safety Sean Davis last year, who enjoyed a promising and improving rookie campaign. Leaning away from that defense, the Peppers’ selection does make a level of sense.
The Steelers have clearly tried to use a dime defense for the last two seasons; late in 2015, early in 2016, to middling success. Peppers could be the answer in that role, playing alongside Davis, not replacing him.
Last season, Peppers recorded 66 tackles, 13 for a loss, with three sacks and an interception. He was a multi-purpose threat, returning kicks and punts and playing running back on offense, averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
If you’re wondering, OLBs Haason Reddick and Carl Lawson were off the board by the Steelers’ selection. Reddick seemingly continues to “rise,” going 24th in this edition, and we haven’t even hit the Combine yet.
If the Steelers go in a direction other than outside linebacker, a position, and a player, like Peppers would be very interesting.