Now that the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine has concluded, we’re sure to be treated to several new mock drafts from the major media in the coming days. Former NFL general manager and current NFL.com analysts Charley Casserly wasted no time in getting his latest first round prediction posted and he has the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting Michigan LB/S Jabrill Peppers 30th overall.
Casserly writes of the selection of Peppers:
The Steelers take the most versatile athlete in the draft to fill their safety need.
Safety need? While the Steelers will eventually need to replace veteran Mike Mitchell in the coming years, that position is a little lower down the list when it comes to needs this year. However, if the Steelers wanted to use Peppers as a nickel defender in the box, perhaps that’s how he could get early playing time on defense if ultimately drafted by Pittsburgh.
Peppers is perhaps one of this year’s most polarizing players when it comes to the draft even though he possesses a great deal of versatility. It’s worth pointing out that a few analysts believe he could potential play running back in the NFL because of his speed, athleticism and explosiveness.
In the 27 games that Peppers played at Michigan he recorded 125 total tackles, one interception and 11 pass breakups. Additionally, Peppers ran the football 45 times for 239 yards and 5 touchdowns. If that’s not enough, Peppers returned 39 punts for 510 yards and a touchdown and 18 kickoffs for another 483 yards and 6 scores.
At the recently concluded combine, Peppers, who measured in at 5107, 213-pounds, ran a 4.46-second 40-yard dash. He also registered a 35.5″ vertical jump and a 10’8″ broad jump in addition to doing 19 reps on the bench. Unfortunately, Peppers chose not to run the shuttle and three-cone drills so we’ll likely have to wait for his pro day to get those times.
Interesting enough, Casserly doesn’t have edge rushers Haason Reddick, Derek Rivers or Carl Lawson being selected in the first round of his latest mock draft. He also has Miami tight end David Njoku being selected 32nd overall by the New England Patriots and we can only hope that prediction doesn’t come to fruition.
In case you missed it, Casserly had the Steelers selecting Michigan edge rusher Taco Charlton 30th overall in his first mock draft of 2017 that he released in the middle of February.