The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: Would the Steelers really use their first-round draft pick on Jabrill Peppers?
Ever since a report came out a week or so ago from NFL Network that Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert ‘loves’ Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers, we have suddenly seen in influx of media of all varieties—including prominent beat writers—beginning to connect the dots between the player and the team.
Peppers is certainly an interesting player, even if he might be hard to profile on the professional level given the variety of roles that he played for the Wolverines, particularly last year when he was playing linebacker, which is not exactly, or at least not quite, the sort of role he will be asked to play at the NFL level.
Many analysts have described Peppers as a matchup player, which, to me, doesn’t really seem to jive with somebody that you want to use a first-round draft pick on. Being a matchup player as a rookie is certainly fine, but if there isn’t a long-term, defined starting role for him after that, then I don’t know that I see the sense.
It has been made clear over the course of the past week that there are many within the Steelers’ fandom community that would be less than happy with Peppers in the first round, which is evidently something that at least one beat writer in particular is relishing with sardonic glee.
He is an interesting nickel or dime defender in the slot, who should be able to provide solid run defense and the ability to blitz effectively, among other things. But whether or not he can cover the way the Steelers would like, or if he has the splash plays in him that didn’t show up in college, are some important questions that haven’t really been answered. Another, of course, is if he will even be on the board at 30.