Mock drafts are just that, a mock, as I’m sure you’re acutely aware, but the league-wide trend are linking in one direction. To Michigan and Jabrill Peppers.
Earlier this week, we wrote that Dane Brugler joined Charley Casserly in mocking Peppers to Pittsburgh. Looking around at other mock drafts today and the group think is strong.
“Peppers’ questionable fit at the NFL level could cause him to slide despite his talent, but with many comparing him to former Steelers icon Troy Polamalu, he might be too good to pass up at No. 30. In Pittsburgh he’d line up at safety and likely contribute to the return game, and it also would be interesting to see if Mike Tomlin mixes him into the offense on occasion.”
I’m not sure what the obsession is with writing about Troy Polamalu when talking about Peppers or the continued forgetfulness of the team selecting Sean Davis in the second round last year.
However, that doesn’t mean Peppers can’t be the pick and fill in as the hybrid, dime defender the Steelers have seemingly desired – and failed to find – over the past two seasons. That’s the key no one is talking about.
If you believe reports, Kevin Colbert “loves” Peppers and it’s easy to see why. He’s a great athlete, a competitor, and likely helped himself in the interview process. Of course, those same reports say Colbert will take either a CB or a safety in the first round, a notion Bob Labriola pushed back on on Steelers.com.
“I can absolutely, positively guarantee you that Kevin Colbert didn’t say that, because he never, ever would paint himself in a corner when it comes picking a player at a particular position. The Steelers just don’t zero in on a position for a draft pick in a particular round. They just don’t, and they haven’t since Chuck Noll was hired in 1969. Believe me or don’t, but that’s not the way they conduct their draft.”
Pre-draft visits is usually a strong indicator of the position the Steelers are most interested in and they have invited several safeties so far. It’s a position that can’t be discounted on draft day. Neither can Peppers.